April 28, 2003
Mini-robot for exploration of planets, asteroids and comets.
The NASA laboratory of jet propulsion has announced the test of a mini-robot designed for exploration of planets, asteroids and comets. Owing to miniaturization of electronics, optics and power supply sources, it became possible to create a small device – robot for exploration of new planets capable of performing the functions of its larger predecessor.
It offers a great advantage –
instead of one large complex robot, a number of small, simpler ones can be delivered to another planet. They will scatter about the planet and collect much more information than one robot, even if the latter is absolutely perfect.
A spider was selected as a prototype of the microrobot in the animal life. The palm-size “Spider-bot” equipped with surveillance cameras moves quickly on its six legs and can successfully pass where a wheeled apparatus fails to move. Scientists are planning to combine multiple single robots-spiders into a communction network. Each robot will work for a single database and will be controlled from a single center. They will exchange information with each other so the break-down of one or even several robots will not be a disaster for a project.
NASA is planning development of a next generation of mini-robots. The new model will be 10 times smaller, have 10 legs and an increased number of functions.
Information source: the magazine “Vokrug Sveta”.
Photo from: NASA.