Japan. Radiation. Mysterious green glow. Sound familiar?
At the beginning of April, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) sent a robotic probe inside Fukushima’s radioactive ruins. After covering about 30 feet (10 meters), the shape-shifting robot became stuck and was abandoned, so a second one was dispatched on April 15.
Radiation levels measured between 4.7 and 9.7 Sieverts/hour, which is less than a tenth of what TEPCO expected to find. Temperatures were stable and around the 65 degrees F (18-20°C) mark.
After sustaining damage to its camera, the second robot was abandoned as well. Even if it would have survived its journey unscathed, the robotic probe became so radioactive that it had to be left behind.
On the subject of the mysterious green glow, very little information exists. Despite what The Simpsons might have taught us, radioactive material does not glow green. It could be a video artifact or a result of interaction between charged particles and the robot’s camera. It could be a previously undocumented phenomenon. It could be the birth of Godzilla.
For the moment, we don’t know.