The CMU Field Robotics Center (FRC) developed Dante II, a tethered walking robot, which explored the Mt. Spurr (Aleutian Range, Alaska) volcano in July 1994. High-temperature, fumarole gas samples are prized by volcanic science, yet their sampling poses significant challenge. In 1993, eight volcanologists were killed in two separate events while sampling and monitoring volcanoes. The use of robotic explorers, such as Dante II, opens a new era in field techniques by enabling scientists to remotely conduct research and exploration.
Using its tether cable anchored at the crater rim, Dante II is able to descend down sheer crater walls in a rappelling-like manner to gather and analyze high temperature gasses from the crater floor. In addition to contributing to volcanic science, a primary objective of the Dante II program is to demonstrate robotic exploration of extreme (i.e., harsh, barren, steep) terrains such as those found on planetary surfaces.