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 ")

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'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.

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'- Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

Bigelow Gets FAA Backing For Moon
'Above them a dome of transparent plastic kept the fresh spring-scented air in...'- Philip K. Dick

Will We Mine The Moon For Ice?
'That's okay, still ice in The Rock and a miner expects to sound for it...'- Robert Heinlein, 1966.

 

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

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard!

World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'

Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'

Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'

ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'

Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'

Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'

FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'

The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'

GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.

Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'

Autonomous Car Outperforms Professional Race Driver
Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!'

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.