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MARS on the Go: Latest Test of the MARS System Onboard a U.S. Navy Ship for the First Time


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All generations grew up with robots in literature, film, television, theater and comics. Some of the unforgettable ones are Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still; C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 from the Star Wars franchise; T-800 from The Terminator franchise, Ash and Bishop from the Alien franchise; Robot from Lost in Space; and countless others. Well, there is a new robot in town and it recently conducted cold spray tests onboard a U.S. Navy vessel for the first time.

The Multifunctional Automated Repair System (MARS) is a portable robot system that is capable of performing multiple repair operations including paint removal, grinding, ultrasonic inspections, and cold spray repairs. Developed and built by Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory (Penn State ARL), the MARS platform is designed to be easily adaptable with multiple repair end effectors and allows the user, civilian and Navy personnel, to easily execute normal ship repair tasks with minimal training. The system is being vetted for its viability within a shipyard but also for use in an expeditionary or forward deployed environment.

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