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Meet the engineer behind NASA's robotic arm for Mars20/7/2019

Meet the engineer behind NASA's robotic arm for Mars Standing at the porch of his house in Ghana, as a young boy, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu was fascinated by the planes that flew in and out of the airport. But his dreams were not to be a pilot, his imagination was more unique than that.crp robot He envisioned a future where robots would fly the planes. "I was fascinated by replacing human pilots with computers. I was very interested in that as a young kid." Many years after, the young dreamer has surpassed his imagination. He is now a lead engineer on InSight - NASA's spacecraft which recently landed on Mars. He is in charge of the mission's robotic arm mechanism. What does the robotic arm do? The goal of InSight is to understand how planets are formed. But to do so, there is need to look deep beneath the surface. "You have to look at the core of the planet," says Ollennu, Instrument Deployment Systems Lead on InSight. InSight's robotic arm will place scientific instruments off the InSight lander onto the surface. "Our responsibility is to pick up the instruments that the scientists are going to use to examine the planets hundreds of millions of miles away," Ollennu said. The arm, more than 5 feet 9 inches (1.8 meters) long, has a camera attached that will provide 3D color views of the landing site. It is designed to place the seismometer on the surface and position the heat flow probe - a mole that can burrow 16 feet (five meters) into the ground. It will take two to three months for InSight's robotic arm to set the mission's instrument on the surface.For now, the robotic arm will be taking pictures of Mars. "We're going to take a selfie of the land," Ollennu told CNN via Skype. "We are going to take the imagery of the workspace, and then we are going to start planning how to get the instrument to the surface." The engineer majored in Avionics at the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Queen Mary College, University of London and then obtained a Ph. D. in Control Systems Engineering, at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. He then moved to the US to do further research in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

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