NASA engineers are developing robots called Mars Dogs that could be useful for exploring Mars. It is based on the four-legged robot dog Spot from Boston Dynamics.
Modern all-terrain vehicles for exploring other planets, as a rule, are equipped with four or six wheels, which allow you to move on relatively flat and gentle terrain. NASA engineers, along with colleagues from the Ames Research Center and McGill University, decided to move away from this concept. Instead, they plan to create robotic dogs that can autonomously navigate not only the surface of Mars, but also explore caves.
As part of the project, the robot dog Spot will receive a new control system, NeBula, based on AI algorithms. As a result, researchers will have autonomous mechanical units that are lighter, more maneuverable, more compact and faster than standard rovers. In total, three robotic dogs will be created, one of which is focused on exploring caves and has a mechanical arm-manipulator in the equipment, and the other two are intended for use on the surface. All three robots will be equipped with sensors and instruments to transmit data to Earth in real time.
Another advantage of Mars Dog is that the robot dog can rise if it falls while moving, whereas modern rovers do not have this ability. Mars Dogs are currently being tested and trained to overcome various obstacles that may be encountered on Mars. When exactly Mars Dog may go on their first space journey is still unknown.
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