General, Research, Technology

What will the rovers of the future look like?

NASA's Aerospace Agency sends robotsto Mars since the second half of the 20th century. As a rule, rovers are equipped with several pairs of wheels and are only able to move on plains. But the distant planet is also full of mountains, cliffs and even caves. Currently existing vehicles cannot move on difficult surfaces, so the agency decided to develop new rovers that can work as a team and keep balance anywhere. They will be based on the Boston Dynamics' Spot robot dog design. At the moment, it is planned to send three robotic dogs to Mars, which will belay each other and penetrate deep caves. Perhaps they will be able to find life inside the caves, or at least its remains. NASA's new project is called Mars Dogs and clearly needs to be discussed in detail. After all, we are talking about technologies that will help us learn more about the planet on which, perhaps, our descendants will live.

Spot robot from Boston Dynamics in the Martian cave

Robots on Mars

About using Boston Dynamics robots on Marswas presented at the online conference of the American Geophysical Society (AGU). Introduced in 2016, the Spot four-legged robots navigate space using cameras with a 360-degree viewing angle. With the help of their legs, they can reach speeds of up to 5 kilometers per hour and easily overcome obstacles, as shown in this video. The structure weighs 25 kilograms, so they are considered one of the lightest robots in the world. Most likely, NASA employees drew attention to these robots precisely because of their agility and lightness. After all, the surface of Mars is full of irregularities, and sending light loads to Mars saves money.

A regular version of the Spot robot from Boston Dynamics

The space agency plans to send to Marsmodified robots called Au-Spot. What changes in the design they have is still unknown. But it is planned to send 3 robots to a distant planet, which are interconnected by cables. One of the robots will be able to go into the depths of the caves, and the other two robots will secure him. Scientists believe that even if they fall, nothing terrible will happen to robots, because thanks to their algorithms, they are able to rise to their feet from any position. And given the ability to work as a team, there shouldn't be any problems at all.

Something like this will look like the joint work of Spot robots on Mars

Benefits of Boston Dynamics robots

At the moment, the device is flying to MarsPerseverance, which is equipped with sophisticated equipment to search for traces of life. He is good in his own way, but Au-Spot robots are 12 times (!) Lighter than him and move much faster. There is no information about the speed of the Perseverance rover, but Curiosity is moving at a speed of 0.14 kilometers per hour. Yes, compared to conventional rovers, the robotic dogs from Boston Dynamics are real runners. Perhaps thanks to robots, scientists will be able to study Mars as quickly and thoroughly as possible. While conventional rovers will operate in highly restricted areas, quadruped robots will be able to run in different territories.

As you can see, the surface of Mars is far from flat

It is important to note that every Au-Spot robot willequipped with a different set of tools. The main one will be equipped with a radioisotope energy source rather than solar panels. Thanks to this, he will be able to work at any time of the day and in any weather. When the Mars Dogs mission starts and how long it will last, no one knows yet. For starters, robots will be tested on Earth, in the lava tube region of Northern California. It is customary to call lava tubes cavities in the form of corridors formed inside the solidified lava. It is believed that robots will have to move around such areas. Especially many lava tubes are found on the territory of the Martian Mount Pavonis.

Recently, Boston Dynamics belongs to the South Korean company Hyundai. What will happen to the robot manufacturer in the future, you can find out in this material.

Other robots to explore Mars

But robots aren't the only rovers of the futurefrom Boston Dynamics. Recently, in the Mojave Desert (USA), a prototype of the DuAxel apparatus was tested, which initially looks like a regular Mars rover with four wheels. But when approaching an obstacle, the device will be able to split in half. The back part will remain in the role of some kind of anchor, and the front part will be able to move forward, being tied to its half with a cable. If problems arise, the machine will be able to pull the cable and pull it together.

DuAxel test

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Will scientists ever be able to discover life onMars, it is impossible to know for sure yet. But it is clearly not on the surface, so scientists recently suggested that it could exist in the bowels of the planet. And you don't have to dig deep, and here's why.

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