Mitsubishi Robot Ready to Build Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

John Boyd of IEEE Spektrumreported that the Mitsubishi Electric-built robot designed to grab and replace hexagonal mirror segments on the 30-meter telescope to be built on Mauna Kea, a volcano on The Big Island, in Hawaii, is ready for deployment, but the project is on hold pending resolution of a legal challenge by Hawaiians who hold the mountain area sacred. The robot is suspended under a 15-meter bridge that rotates it around the circumference of the mirror, where it can access any of 492 segments. With 6 degrees of freedom, the robot has three arms with manipulators that can grasp a given mirror. The robot’s vision system checks patterns it projects onto the mirror glass to adjust its orientation. Force sensors prevent load imbalance that might distort the glass. More