In recent years, space exploration has become the main focus of research and development efforts worldwide. One of the biggest challenges is the ability for humans to access and explore environments that are difficult or impossible to reach.
To solve this kind of problem, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) created it. A robot that can think for itself as well as explore unfavorable extraterrestrial terrains.
In the mid-2000s, the Cassini spacecraft sent images of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, to Earth, and scientists discovered something unique: ocean of salty liquid water hidden under its crust.
Small enough to fit in the UK, the moon is constantly throwing clouds of icy particles from that ocean into space, mixed with water and simple organic chemicals.
This discovery motivated Development of the snake robot called Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS). Since 2019, the prototype structure has been updated regularly, and from 2022, the JPL team will conduct monthly field tests to improve the robot’s hardware and software so it can operate autonomously.
The current robot has 4 meters long and weighs about 100 kg. Its 10 identical rotating segments use screw heads for drive and clutch.
To test the robot, the team took a “robot playground” to a Southern California ski resort and tested the robot. indoor ice rink on sandy terrain and snow.
It uses EELS, four pairs of stereo cameras and LiDAR (Light Detection and Range Shifting) to increase its autonomy. three-dimensional map of the environment around you. LiDAR determines distance by measuring the time it takes for light reflected from a laser to return to the receiver after hitting a surface or object.
It has the potential to provide new information about EELS. The chemistry and habitability of the Enceladus oceanas well as about the search for life beyond Earth.
Source: Tec Mundo
I’m Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I’ve written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.