New Delhi: Looks like NASA's Curiosity rover, that is currently scaling the rocky terrains of the Red Planet alone, is all set to have company soon!
The American space agency just revealed its latest prototype – a Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) – presently going through its paces in a test facility.
NASA explained that, "RASSOR uses counter-rotating bucket drums on opposing arms to provide near-zero horizontal and minimal vertical net reaction force so that excavation is not reliant on the traction or weight of the mobility system to provide a reaction force to counteract the excavation force in low-gravity environments."
This basically means that any excavation carried out on alien planets will be simpler and smoother, since the device is designed in such a way that it can perform its tasks without the use of high amounts of traction to stay in place.
As per NASA's description, its design incorporates net-zero reaction force, thus allowing it to load, haul, and dump space regolith under extremely low gravity conditions with high reliability. RASSOR could also be scaled up and used for terrestrial mining operations in difficult-to-reach or dangerous locations.
Engineers expect it to be five times faster than Curiosity and believe it can handle 16-hour shifts, wherein it could haul 40 pounds of material per trip, which is why NASA also calls RASSOR "a blue collar robot."
Popular Mechanics suggests that an entire host of these bots will be sent ahead of any Martian colonists to begin building our Martian home for us.
The video released by NASA introducing RASSOR is actually the RASSOR 2.0, a scaled-up prototype of the original 2013 design. Have a look!
(Video courtesy: NASAKennedy)