Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snake robot on Mars?

Date:
September 16, 2013
Source:
SINTEF
Summary:
The ESA wants its operations on other planets to have greater mobility and manoeuvrability. Researchers are looking into whether snake robots could be the answer.

The researchers envisage using the rover to navigate over large distances, after which the snake robot can detach itself and crawl into tight, inaccessible areas.
Credit: Image courtesy of SINTEF

The ESA wants its operations on other planets to have greater mobility and manoeuvrability. SINTEF researchers are looking into whether snake robots could be the answer.

So far, NASA has landed four rovers on Mars. These are solar-powered robots with six wheels and robotic arms that can take soil samples and operate cameras. Sojourner landed in 1997, Spirit and Opportunity in 2003, while the more advanced Curiosity was landed last summer. "Manoeuvrability is a challenge. The Spirit rover was lost after it became stuck in the sand on Mars. The vehicles just cannot get to many of the places from which samples have to be taken," say Pål Liljebäck and Aksel Transeth at SINTEF ICT.

The researchers are busy working on a feasibility study assigned to them by the ESA. The ESA and the researchers believe that by combining a rover that can navigate over large distances with a snake robot that can crawl along the ground and can get into inaccessible places, so many more possibilities could be opened up.

At the moment, soil samples from Mars are analysed on board the rover itself, and the results are communicated back to Earth. However, The ESA also wants to examine options that could allow samples to be returned to Earth. Snake robots could assist with collecting such samples, since they enable access to tight spots that the rovers cannot reach.

An arm becomes a snake robot

"We are looking at several alternatives to enable a rover and a robot to work together. Since the rover has a powerful energy source, it can provide the snake robot with power through a cable extending between the rover and the robot. If the robot had to use its own batteries, it would run out of power and we would lose it," explains Aksel Transeth.

"One option is to make the robot into one of the vehicle's arms, with the ability to disconnect and reconnect itself, so that it can be lowered to the ground, where it can crawl about independently." The researchers envisage using the rover to navigate over large distances, after which the snake robot can detach itself and crawl into tight, inaccessible areas. A cable will connect the robot to the vehicle. The cable will supply power and tractive power, i.e. it can be winched back to the rover. Communication between the pair will be facilitated via signals transmitted down the cable.

"The connection between the robot and the rover also means that the snake robot will be able to assist the vehicle if the latter gets stuck," says Liljebäck. "In such a situation, the robot could lower itself to the ground and coil itself around a rock enabling the rover pull itself loose by means of the cable winch, which the rover would normally use to pull the snake robot towards the rover."

Report to the ESA "At the Department of Applied Cybernetics, we have been working closely with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU's) Department of Engineering Cybernetics on snake robots for many years, and our teams have had some ideas about this for a long time," say Transeth and Liljebäck. "It is only now that we are starting to see some actual applications, and it is wonderful to be given this opportunity to provide the ESA with information about future technologies in this field. What we hope is that our ideas will trigger the ESA into initiating a targeted development process around this kind of system."

Videos: http://robotnor.no/research/serpentine-robots-for-planetary-exploration-serpex/

So far, NASA has landed four rovers on Mars: Sojourner in 1997, Spirit and Opportunity in 2004, and Curiosity in 2012. The latter is highly advanced and comes with a built-in laboratory. The ESA has new missions planned for 2016 and 2028.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SINTEF. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

SINTEF. "Snake robot on Mars?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916091021.htm>.
SINTEF. (2013, September 16). Snake robot on Mars?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916091021.htm
SINTEF. "Snake robot on Mars?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916091021.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — The Intercept published an article Monday profiling what the online publication called NSA's very own Google of personal data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ralph Lauren Gets Into Wearables Game With 'Polo Tech'

Ralph Lauren Gets Into Wearables Game With 'Polo Tech'

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) — Ralph Lauren, partnering with OMsignal, is testing out new biometric-reading shirts called "Polo Tech" on ball boys at the U.S. Open. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Makes Twitch Worth $1 Billion To Amazon?

What Makes Twitch Worth $1 Billion To Amazon?

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) — Amazon is reportedly about to purchase Twitch, a streaming service for video game players, but why? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins