Introduction: Human exploration of deep space has never stopped. NASA is the first to send probes to Mars. Facing the complex environment of Mars, NASA is now improving the traditional wheeled detectors. It seems that “Paws” is the best choice.
Author: lotus Fu storm, editor: Alley
NASA has successfully sent a series of detectors to Mars in the past to perform detection missions.Some are in-orbit detection, while others are on the surface.
MRO took a picture of "Curious" and is working hard on Mars.
But now NASA has to start thinking about a new problem —— how to detect those steep cliffs?
NASA's LEMUR robots recently completed such an experiment on the cliffs of Death Valley, California, bringing NASA a solution to the problem.
Rock climbing, no matter how many wheels, less than three or two claws
Wheels can really play an important role on the smooth roads, allowing the probe to travel on the plains and craters of Mars, but for cliffs, polar caps and other hard-to-reach places elsewhere, It seems very powerless.
Since the wheels don't work, then discard the wheels. The idea of NASA is very simple.The original rolling wheel was replaced by a sharp "paw", each claw consisting of a full 16 fingers, these seemingly simple fingers are also equipped with hundreds of small hooks.
It is precisely because of the irregularity of the rock wall and the surface of the pit after weathering, giving LEMUR the opportunity of the lower jaw, the small fish hook on the finger will be embedded in the small groove on the surface of the rock wall, and by shrinking the claw, the LEMUR is firmly Grab the rock wall firmly.
Just at the beginning of the year, in the last field test in Death Valley, California,LEMUR chose a route on the cliff through an artificial intelligence system.At the same time, the rocks were scanned along the way to find ancient marine fossils that filled the area.
Can only climb? More to the sea
After testing, the role of the paw on the rock climbing was confirmed, and the researcher shifted more attention to the paw itself, unloading one leg of LEMUR, and adapted a special “climbing gecko”.
In addition to land, where can this technology be used? The researchers turned their attention to the deep sea.
Just as the astronauts conducted spacewalk training underwater, the researchers adapted LEMUR's claws to have the same 16 fingers and 250 hooks for gripping irregular surfaces.
One day it may be sent to asteroids or other celestial bodies in the solar system.Currently, it is affiliated with Nautilus, an underwater research vessel operated by the Hawaiian Coastal Ocean Exploration Trust, which can help collect deep sea samples from more than a mile below the surface.
Exploring Mars, you need more robotic efforts
The LEMUR project is over, but it helps launch a new generation of walking, climbing and crawling robots. In future Mars or icy satellite missions, artificial intelligence robots and climbing techniques from LEMUR can reveal potential signs of life.
Of course, a LEMUR is still unable to successfully complete the mission of exploring Mars.NASA also conducted a technical demonstration of a small solar helicopter for short flight.
Due to insufficient energy,Drones need to face the challenge of stopping to charge in a variety of environments.
JPL engineer ArashKalantari has improved the habitat based on LEMUR's design: it has a claw-shaped built-in hook that catches the rock, just like a bird clings to a branch.
There, the robot will charge its battery through solar panels, allowing it to roam freely and look for signs of life.
The future of NASA's Mars trip seems to be inseparable from this claw.