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How Do You Make A Robot Walking On Mars? It’s too hard

From the Stranger rover, which landed on Mars in 1997, to Perseverance, where affected in February, Red Planet robots share a meaning: wheels. Driving is much stronger and more powerful than walking, which makes robots on Earth struggle to become experts. Other than that, NASA hated an expensive Martian explorer to fall to the ground and fly like a turtle behind it.

The problem with wheels, however, is that they limit where riders can go: To explore the complexities of the Martian like the sloping mountains, you need the types of legs that evolution gave to animals on Earth. That is why a team of scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany have been playing with a small quadrupedal robot singing A well, designed to mimic the springbok.

The truth is his name, the real source of life it roams the deserts of Africa, perhaps to confuse the enemy. The original concept of the robot, which was launched in 2018, was actually to jump to the surface of the moon, as astronomers have done to gain the moon’s gravitational pull. This can work on our satellite, where the terrain is flat, but on Mars it is probably dangerous because of the complex terrain — which includes sand, rocks, and slopes. That is why researchers are now changing its limbs to see if it can cope with the harsh environment.

In the new experiment, the team developed SpaceBok with a wide range of traditions, with no spring. In particular, researchers want to compare two types: the “static” gait, in which three legs are connected to the ground at any given time, and the “strong”, in which more than one limb can move out of the ground at once. The former is very accurate, but the latter are very useful because they allow the robot to move faster.

The researchers also designed the SpaceBok with two types of foot: point and planar. Its feet have a small area, like the hoofs of a real spring. Its feet, in contrast, are round, which bend when the foot connects to the ground. Think of these as snow boots than hoofs. Or, they are like snow boots, because they have shapes that help the foot to hold on to the ground.

Notice the great part of his feet

Courtesy of Hendrik Kolvenbach / ETH Zurich

Once the researchers have developed the various motions and movements of the robot, they release it in a sandbox that is filled with objects that resemble Mars’ surface. In this way, they can test whether any shape allows the robot to take off a 25-degree flight. By observing the robot’s ability to use electrical energy, it is able to determine how well its function and footprints work.

Mu new image a description of the work, which has been approved for publication in the newspaper Field Games, showed that the machine could safely climb to the top of the Martian without falling to the ground. “We wanted to show that the system is working today, it can travel on the sand of the Martian,” says HOTrik Kolvenbach, author at ETH Zurich. “This is a technology that can do a lot in the future.”

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