Axel Rover Robotic Crater Explorer Yo-Yo-Bot

NASA's Axel Rover is a whirling yo-yo-bot designed for the most challenging terrain on the Moon and beyond. NASA refers to a robot like the Axel Rover as a 'tethered marsupial rover' because it would spend most of its time attached to a larger vehicle until it is needed.


(Nasa axel rover)

The Axel Rover prototype carries a tether, which would be attached to the larger, conventional rover robot. When conventional robots like Spirit and Opportunity encounter a crater, they cannot descend and explore. However, the Axel Rover can.


(NASA Axel concept 'tethered marsupial rover')

According to Pablo Abad-Manterola, one of the contributing CalTech students:

Right now, it's really risky for astronauts or robots, for example, like Spirit an Opportunity to go into craters. The ground is too loose and the slopes are too steep. So it's too risky for those robots to get into those craters and perform any interesting science. So this robot would be very useful for those types of scenarios, where you can really dive into those craters, pick up some samples, and really analyze them and tell us something really new and interesting about Mars or the moon, for example.

Take a look at the AXEL rover prototype in action here on Earth in the following video.




(Axel Rover video)

The whirling Axel rover reminds me of those wonderful whirling tripedal spider robots (or biots) from Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama.

See also JALURO Lunar Robot - 2-Wheeled Open Source.

Update 16-Feb-2009: I recently encountered an incredibly accurate description of this rover, in the form of an animal species described by E.E. 'Doc' Smith in his 1950 novel First Lensman:

"There's something moving closer than that, and it's really funny." Jack laughed deeply. "Its like the paddle-wheels, shaft and all, of an old-fashioned river steamboat, rolling along as unconcernedly as you please. He won't miss me by over four feet, but he isn't swerving a hair. I think I'll block him off, just to see what he does."

The traveler paid no attention, did not alter its steady pace of a couple of miles per hour. It measured about twelve inches long over all; its paddle-wheel-like extremities were perhaps two inches wide and three inches in diameter.
(Read more about Smith's fontema)

End update.

From NASA and Engadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/9/2009)

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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'

Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'- Stephen Barr, 1960.

Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...' - Clifford Simak, 1944.

 

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

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'

Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'

Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!

The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'

Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'

Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'

Project Dylan - Amazon's Voice-Activated Wearable That Recognizes Human Emotions
Life imitates anime art.

Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'

Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'

Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Bottoms up!

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.

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.