Mars exploration goes to the dogs. The robot coin, ie
Scientists are equipping four-legged, animal-simulating robots with artificial intelligence (AI) and a range of sensing equipment to automatically help the bots navigate dangerous caves and submarines. land on the Red Planet.
In a presentation on December 14 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) AGM, held online this year, NASA / JPL-Caltech researchers introduced the “Mars Dogs,” which can move in ways that the image wheels wheels like Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Sustainability could not be launched recently. The new robots have the flexibility and versatility of sensors that allow them to avoid obstacles, choose between multiple routes and build meaningful maps of buried tunnels and caves for home operators, scientists at AGU said.
Related: Super-Intelligent Tools: 7 Robotic Futures
Traditional Mars rollers are largely confined to a flat surface, but many of Martian regions of scientific interest can only be found by traversing rough terrain or descending underground. Walking robot “dogs” are perfectly suited for such challenges – even if they fall, they can recover.
“Toppling does not mean mission failure,” the scientists said during the demonstration. “Using recovery algorithms, the robot can self-correct from a number of falls.”
The Mars Dog would also be about 12 times lighter than normal walkers and would be able to travel much faster, reaching normal walking speeds of 3 mph (5 km / h) during tests. To put that in perspective, the Curiosity rover will land on the Martian surface at about 0.09 mph (0.14 km / h), the researchers said.
On Mars, caves may offer shelter to human colonies in the future, providing natural protection against deadly UV radiation, extreme cold and intense dust storms that last weeks and are sometimes large enough to be seen. with telescopes on the ground, according to NASA. Caves can also provide evidence of life from Mars’ past, or even provide a normal home for organisms that live deep underground, the researchers at AGU said. Robots with legs could walk around rocks, lower themselves in caves and choose a path – while also collecting measurements and building a map of what they “see” – a providing new opportunities for scientists to find life signals outside of Earth.
The Mars autonomous canine, known as the “Au-Spot,” is a modified version of “Spot, “a four – legged mechanical researcher created by the robotics company Boston Dynamics. The team of Autonomous Resilient Robots, or CoSTAR, was equipped with more than 60 scientists and engineers equipped Au-Spot with network sensors and software to help it safely and automatically scan, navigate and map the environment.
Au-Spot processes inputs from Lidar (remote sensing using laser beats), visual, thermal and motion sensors to create 3D maps. The Mars Dog also uses AI to learn what structures should be avoided, and to identify potentially interesting objects, while a communication model allows the robot to move data. to the surface as it explores underground.
CoSTAR team members are testing Au-Spot in a range of obstacle courses, putting it through its steps in tunnels and halls; up stairs and ramps; and in outdoor areas resembling Martian landscapes, such as lava tubes in Northern California. These demonstrations show that contactless robots can map movement around boulders and deep caves.
“That behavior could one day allow revolutionary scientific missions to occur on the surface and subsidence of Martian, thus pushing the limits of NASA’s ability to study sites not traditionally found,” the experts at AGU.
First published on Living Science.