A NASA rover conjures up an image of a slow robotic tripod vehicle with four wheels and multiple sensors and transmitters. Take into account the Curiosity rover that landed on mars a few years ago.
The problem with wheels is that it gets stuck in the dust and the rugged terrain of the planets.Audi to voiced its concerns regarding its new Lunar Quattro rover. A moon rover where the dust is 1000 times finer than that of the earth.
To eradicate this particular scenario NASA is experimenting with new designs inspired by amoebas, slugs and worms. NASA was awarded a patent for an “amorphous surface robot”discovered by Becky Ferreira at Motherboard.“The presently disclosed robots change shape in the direction of intended travel to provide improved surface mobility along with enhanced protection from the elements,” the patent summary explains.
In a fact sheet on the technology, NASA says its currently exploring four takes on this amorphous design. A Bladder Bot (utilizing fluid in a membrane to push the rover along), an Inchworm Bot (utilizing magnetic fluid pushed through an electromagnetic ring), Electromagnetic Sphere Robot (electromagnetic spheres in a fluid membrane), and a Polymer Cell Robot (with expanding and contracting cells inside a membrane.)
These robots not only can help in space exploration but also help is rescue missions or pipeline inspections.These rovers would help us to explore the extra terrestrial planets even more because of its greater mobility passive shape changing to allow the robot to pass through odd-shaped openings, and immunity to dust and contamination,” researchers write in a release. “This idea is completely scalable from small to enormous robots.”