Thursday, April 10, 2008

NASA's lunar robot

It's still an unproven concept, and perhaps a far-out one. But JPL engineers are playing with prototypes of a six-legged robot that could take a 15-ton habitat anywhere on the Moon the VSE missions may require. The robot would normally drive (a more energy-efficient mode) on wheels at the end of the legs. When the terrain was too rough, though, the wheels would be locked and the legs would be unlocked, enabling the ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) to stride on its six-meter-long legs at 5 to 10 kph. The linked article includes some cool videos.

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