Robotic Ground-Penetrating-Radar (GPR) Surveys to Support the 2014 Greenland Inland Traverse
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH HANOVER United States
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The National Science Foundation operates the Greenland Inland Traverse GrIT to resupply Summit Station, which is situated at the peak of the Greenland ice cap. Prior to its springtime departure from Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, GrITs Strategic Crevasse Avoidance Team SCAT conducts ground-penetrating-radar GPR surveys along the first 100 km of the route to chart a safe course around subsurface crevasses that could jeopardize the safety of vehicles and personnel. We deployed the polar rover Yeti during 2014 to supplement SCATs survey capabilities. Yeti executed 23 autonomous GPR surveys, covering 94 km of terrain. The resulting data allowed us to map hundreds of subsurface crevasses and contributed to SCATs successful charting of a safe route for GrIT. These were the first robotic surveys that directly supported concurrent manual crevasse surveys. This report describes the techniques used during Yetis 2014 deployment, the survey results obtained, the main contributions of Yeti to SCATs efforts, and recommendations to improve the efficiency of robotic crevasse surveys to aid manual ones.