In order to explore the solar system, scientists first relied on probes. Now on to the Rovers. They returned valuable data. But it may not be up to the challenges of exploring distant planets in particular. To find out what’s hiding in these hostile environments, researchers are imagining new solutions. Those at NASA are currently developing an amazing snake-like robot.
Beneath the icy crust of Enceladus, one of Enceladus’ many moons SaturnSaturnmaybe it hides a perimeter liquidliquid. The researchers imagine that there could be some forms of extraterrestrial life. To get to the bottom of it, you’ll probably have to go see it. Yes, but Saturn is far away. And rovers like those sent to Mars may not yet be well-suited for exploring the icy landscape of Enceladus.
Never mind, diff Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, NASANASA) I decided to take up the challenge. They conceived of a new kind of RobotRobot To explore the harsh terrain. An autonomous, self-driving robot called EELS – short forSurveyor of outdoor life in biology. A very special robot because it looks like… a snake!
“EELS have the ability to go places other robots can’t. While some bots are better in one type of terrain or another, the idea of this is to give them the ability to do everything.”Matthew Robinson, project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains in a statement communication. “When you go places where you’re not sure what you’ll find, you want to send a bot that is versatile, aware of risk, prepared for uncertainty and able to make decisions on its own.”
No land will resist him
Thus, EELS are designed to be able to move and orient themselves on a variety of terrain. Almost everywhere in our solar system, finally. Including on the ground, if necessary. In the sandsand on ice, on cliff tops, in potholes steep for rovers, or in tubes from washwash Draw underground passages or labyrinths glaciersglaciers. And on the frozen ground of Enceladus, to the cracks from which charged columns of water vapor emerge amino acidsamino acids It was observed by the Cassini mission.
The current version, EELS 1.0, weighs about 100 kilograms and is four meters long. The robot snake consists of 10 identical parts that rotate using screw threads for propulsion, traction, and grip. It has already been tested in different environments. JPL engineers are thinking a little bit more about the situation startstart Create quickly, test often, learn, adjust, iterate.
Because the challenge is huge. And once it reaches Enceladus, the eel will be very far away from humanity. He wouldn’t be able to count on the help of the engineers to get around. So the teams planned a system of cameras and lidarlidar – A type of radar that operates on short pulses laserlaser instead of waves radioradio – so that the robot can map its environment. Navigation algorithms then determine the safest path for him to follow. And the approach to be adopted according to external circumstances. The final version of the snake robot will also incorporate no less than 48 kinds of micro-motors that will ensure its flexibility. They will allow him too – thanks tentaclestentacles – to feel the power he exerts on the field. Especially enough to move vertically in narrow streams with uneven surfaces. So far, we have focused onindependenceindependence And the robot’s mobility, we’ll see later what scientific tools we can integrate into the EELS system.”says Matthew Robinson. He follows…
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