Scientists create mini-planetary rover to cope with loose terrain

Scientists at georgia Tech hope to tackle loose, tricky terrain with a new design to improve the mobility and freedom of future planetary rovers,media reported. The team’s mini-rover is understood to have used some clever tricks to get itout, including a swinging motion that propels it up and over a steep slope made of fine particles.

Scientists create mini-planetary rover to cope with loose terrain

When a robotic space instrument is trapped on another planet, it can cause all sorts of trouble for human mission control on the ground. Mars Insight is a classic example. Last year, the rover’s rig component got stuck in the Martian terrain, forcing the team to suspend operations while team members began to figure out how to make it move again.

In response, the Georgia Institute of Technology team set out to study how to prevent the rover from getting caught in sand or other fine matter while roaming Mars or the moon. To do this, the team developed a scaled-down version of the NASA-built robot, the RP15, that performs a series of actions to lift its wheelattachments as needed.

Team member Andras Karsai said: “By creating a small robot similar to the RP15 rover, we can test the motion principles of various gait in a controlled laboratory environment. In our tests, we mainly changed the robot’s gait, motion medium, and climbing angle. We quickly repeated many gait strategies and terrain conditions to check for the phenomenon. “

Scientists create mini-planetary rover to cope with loose terrain

It is understood that the small robot has 12 different motors to drive four wheelattachments, which enable slots on a variety of operations. One of the most impressive is the combination of paddling, walking and rotating wheels, which the robot overcomes the steep poppy seed slopes.

Scientists create mini-planetary rover to cope with loose terrain

In the process, the robot uses the front wheels to stir the material, push the seeds back onto the rear wheels, then swing left and right, then lift and rotate — just like a paddle in the water. The effect of this is to change the slope in front of the rear wheel, making it easier to climb.

Dan Goldman, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, points out: “When loose material flows, there is a problem with the robot moving on it. The rover has enough freedom to get out of trouble quite effectively. Through the avalanche material of the front wheel, it creates a local fluid mountain for the rear wheel, not as steep as a real slope. “

This particular gait will provide a blueprint for future rovers who will need to navigate through the difficult terrain of the moon or other planets. Next, the team hopes to test the larger wheeled robot.