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Olis will lend a hand with Maxar’s lunar robotic arm

Maxar robotic arm
An artist’s conception shows the SAMPLR robotic arm working on the moon. (Maxar Technologies Illustration)

Seattle-based Olis Robotics says it’s been selected by Maxar Technologies to provide software that will prepare operators on Earth to control a robotic arm on the moon.

The software will be used in connection with a robotic-arm experiment known as SAMPLR (Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering and Probing of Lunar Regolith).

SAMPLR is one of a dozen payloads chosen by NASA to fly on commercial lunar landers in support of the space agency’s Artemis program to send astronauts to the moon by 2024.

The robotic arm is a flight spare left over from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Both of those rovers landed on the Red Planet back in 2004, and the mission was brought to a close this February.

SAMPLR will be attached to a lander to be named later, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. It’ll be NASA’s first robotic  arm sent to the moon in more than 50 years.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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