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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'- Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.