Inflatable Spherical Robots May Explore Mars
Inflatable, spherical robots could one day roam the surface of Mars in an eerie echo of the Rovers from the TV series The Prisoner.
(Inflatable spherical robots to explore Mars? [Per Samuelsson])
The proposed devices would have a soccer ball-style surface, with hexagonal solar panels gathering energy. The design has funding from the Swedish National Space Board; the "Mars Rovers" would have a diameter of about thirty centimeters after being inflated with xenon gas from an included cartridge.
"Our inflatable rovers are lightweight, travel great distances, use very low energy and will be fairly cheap," says Fredrik Bruhn of Ǻngström Aerospace in Uppsala, Sweden, who initiated the idea that has now been developed by a team of engineers. "One battery charge will let such a rover travel around 100 kilometers."
SF fans will, no doubt, remember The Prisoner, a 1960's series, in which mysterious Rovers would roam the landscape. They could alter their size and were equipped with toxins to incapacitate prisoners.
(The Rover seeks its prey)
A similar technology has already been extensively tested here on Earth; the Rotundus 'groundbot' is being evaluated for security and surveillance.
The Mars version of the device would havfe a skin made of polyaryletheretherketone, an ultra-strong plastic commonly used in space flight applications. The secret of the inflatable spherical robot is inside - a hollow metal axle that stretches from one side of the sphere to the other, supporting all of the rover's electronics on a pendulum. When a motor changes the attitude of the pendulum, the exterior of the robot shifts to compensate for the change in center of gravity; that is, it moves forward or backward on command.
Read more about the tested Rotundus spherical robot technology (with diagrams) as well as the new design prototype for a inflatable, spherical Mars exploration robot. Thanks to the reader who pointed this one out.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/2/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
'This was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1964.
Suit Up! Fifty Years Of Spacewalks Video
'I experienced for a few minutes the delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet...'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'- Jack Williamson, 1941.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Hackers Can Take Control Of Cars From Anywhere In The World
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'
Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'
Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'
Oh, Just Let Robots Run Airports
I'd like a friendly robot to help me at airports.
How Smart Should AI's Be Allowed To Get?
'Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead'
NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'
Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens?
Please, Please Let There Be Regenerated Teeth
Google AI 'Deep Dreams' Kubrick's 2001
'I was only trying to do what I thought best....'
The BLITAB: First Tactile Tablet for Blind People
Absolutely amazing development - now blind people can read the web!
Why, Oh Why, Must We Develop Robots That Run Faster Than I Do?
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
Golf Robot Putts Out
'The robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again...'
Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
The computer will see you now.
Would Robot Taxis Ease Carbon Emissions?
'He emerged and flagged down a robot taxi...'
Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'
What-If Machine Concocts Creative Premises
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories