"Hopper" rover/spacecraft concept by Stanford University's Marco Pavone

Space Exploration By Robot Swarm

15 May , 2012 by

[/caption]

With all there’s yet to learn about our solar system from the many smaller worlds that reside within it — asteroids, protoplanets and small moons — one researcher from Stanford University is suggesting we unleash a swarm of rover/spacecraft hybrids that can explore en masse.

Marco Pavone, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University and research affiliate at JPL, has been developing a concept under NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program that would see small spherical robots deployed to small worlds, such as Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos, where they would take advantage of low gravity to explore — literally —  in leaps and bounds.

Due to the proposed low costs of such a mission, multiple spacecraft could be scattered across a world, increasing the area that could be covered as well as allowing for varied surfaces to be explored. Also, were one spacecraft to fail the entire mission wouldn’t be compromised.

The concept is similar to what NASA has done in the past with the Mars rovers, except multiplied in the number of spacecraft (and reduced in cost.)

The robots would be deployed from a “mother” spacecraft and spring into action upon landing, tumbling, hopping and vaulting their way across low-mass worlds.

In addition to providing our first views from the surfaces of such worlds, Pavone’s hybrid rovers could also help prepare for future, more in-depth exploration.

“The systematic exploration of small bodies would help unravel the origin of the solar system and its early evolution, as well as assess their astrobiological relevance,” Pavone explains. “In addition, we can evaluate the resource potential of small bodies in view of future human missions beyond Earth.”

Read more from NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist here.

Photo courtesy of Marco Pavone

, , , , , , , ,



Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
May 15, 2012 7:20 PM

These types of systems are more likely to be feasible in the near future than some of the exuberant ideas about building the Enterprise. They are also low risk and low cost.

LC

andrewlea21
Guest
andrewlea21
May 16, 2012 2:40 PM

m y nei ghbor’s step-aunt makes $82/hr on the laptop. She has been unem ployed for te n mon ths but la st m onth her p ay was $19 756 just wo rking on the la ptop for a f ew hours. He re’s the si te to re ad m ore ?????? http://hirebestfreelancer.blogspot.com

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
May 16, 2012 3:39 PM

UT has of late been getting a lot of spam of this nature. Posting filters need to be put in place.

LC

Bobr
Member
Bobr
May 16, 2012 9:22 PM

Yes, but diligence by you, me, and the rest, and a very quick-to-respond moderating team removes them very quickly.

Personally, I prefer this system over one that requires a Captcha-type input for every post.

andrewlea14
Guest
andrewlea14
May 17, 2012 4:04 AM

m y co-wor ker’s sist er ma kes $7 7 an ho ur on the comp uter. S he ha s been ou t of a job f or 9 mo nths bu t la st m onth he r pay che ck w as $21 877 ju st wo rking on the com puter for a fe w hours. Re ad mo re on t his we b sit e ?????? http://Makecash11.blogspot.com

Loki God From Asgard
Guest
Loki God From Asgard
May 17, 2012 5:19 AM

Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!dsfsdfadsfSpammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!Spammer Please Flag !!!!

squidgeny
Member
squidgeny
May 17, 2012 8:47 AM

Replies like this are just as bad.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
May 15, 2012 7:20 PM

These types of systems are more likely to be feasible in the near future than some of the exuberant ideas about building the Enterprise. They are also low risk and low cost.

LC

Bobr
Member
Bobr
May 15, 2012 8:26 PM

More sci-fi coming to fruition!
http://tiny.cc/4l9cew

Bobr
Member
Bobr
May 15, 2012 8:26 PM

More sci-fi coming to fruition!
http://tiny.cc/4l9cew

Peter
Member
Peter
May 15, 2012 10:08 PM
How big is one? What are the scientific properties? Gonna be somewhat low angle photography unless taken on the fly! And as far as I can tell, we still can’t get anything conclusive from this type of machine. Mars has as many questions now as it did before we landed rovers. Only the questions become more specific…are the fossilized microbes really evidence of past life? Why does martian soil give off methane when encouraged? Are gullies that look water formed, actually formed by water? I have proposed a similar project myself, but methinks one of the properties necessary is to be able to look at dust/rock/exudations/ice/microbial evidence…and send those pics back to earth such that we are getting… Read more »
Peter
Member
Peter
May 15, 2012 10:08 PM
How big is one? What are the scientific properties? Gonna be somewhat low angle photography unless taken on the fly! And as far as I can tell, we still can’t get anything conclusive from this type of machine. Mars has as many questions now as it did before we landed rovers. Only the questions become more specific…are the fossilized microbes really evidence of past life? Why does martian soil give off methane when encouraged? Are gullies that look water formed, actually formed by water? I have proposed a similar project myself, but methinks one of the properties necessary is to be able to look at dust/rock/exudations/ice/microbial evidence…and send those pics back to earth such that we are getting… Read more »
wpDiscuz