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 ")

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..' - Doc Smith, 1934.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

NASA's Meteorite-Resistant Fabric Perfect For Space Armor
'The men who labored so feverishly there, were clad in heavy space armor...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1932.

 

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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

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.