NASA’s Hedgehog Robot Was Designed to Tackle Rough Terrain



/ 3 years ago

NASA Hedgehog rover

NASA has already proven that it can land a rover safely on the surface of another planet, but that rover is not exactly the fastest or the most versatile thing on Mars. To be fair, Curiosity was designed to analyze the planet’s climate and geology in order to figure out if has ever supported microbial life. However, NASA was also in need of a rover that could tackle the rough terrain of planets and comets, which is why it has designed Hedgehog – a versatile little robot that can hop and tumble on various surfaces instead of rolling around on wheels.

Hedgehog is being developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, at Stanford University in Stanford, California and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The robot itself is shaped like a cube with spikes, and it moves by spinning and braking a series of internal flywheels. There are currently two prototypes in existence, one from Stanford and one from JPL. Both were tested aboard NASA’s C-9 aircraft in June 2015. The JPL prototype features eight spikes and three flywheels, and it weights no more than 11 pounds (5KG). However, the extra weight of cameras and spectrometers could cause it to weigh a bit over 20 pounds (9KG). The Stanford prototype is a bit smaller and lighter, and it also has shorter spikes.

Have a look at the following video to see the Hedgehog rover in action.

Thank you WTKR for providing us with this information.


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