Science

Tumbleweed Robot Is NASA’s Affordable Solution For Interplanetary Trips

Child’s play or space tech? It’s hard to say when it comes to NASA’s last invention to explore planets with difficult surfaces. The Super Ball Bot has a tensegrity structure, bouncing around to analyze soil and more #objectmagic

A tumbleweed-style rover holds promise for future low-cost interplanetary missions. With its collapsible form, it can bounce from one place to another, without disintegrating. Believe it or not, this matrix of cables and joints is sturdy enough to withstand a significant drop from high above, unlike other exploratory robots.

Joints are adjustable so they can roll the bot anyway scientists please, helping them to collect data within its core. Super Ball Bot was imagined to be light enough and easy to maneuver in places hard to reach previously, like Saturn’s moon Titan. There, a landscape made of lakes from liquid methane would make it impossible for a Mars-style rover to explore safely.

But this tumbleweed bot is another thing entirely; although it reminds us of toys, it could deliver tomorrow’s extraterrestrial message.

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