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Fraser
2005-Dec-10, 07:47 AM
SUMMARY: The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts has recently awarded a Phase II grant for a unique robot design that could hop across the surface of Mars. An array of these tiny robots could be deployed on Mars, coordinating with one another like a swarm of insects. Dr. Penelope Boston speaks to Astrobiology Magazine about the research and future potential for this direction of robotic exploration.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/hopping_microbots.html)
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IsaacKuo
2005-Dec-10, 09:18 AM
I've long wondered why hopping robots haven't been done much yet. It seems like the only way for small robots to overcome large obstacles, and at that point there's perhaps no need for any other movement system.

Usually, I think in terms of a geometry which doesn't roll, but for this Mars mission I can see why it's worthwhile. There's going to be a limited amount of energy available, so you want to make the most of each hop by rolling as far as you can after landing. Also, any motion you can get for free from wind would be good.

Chalcedon
2005-Dec-10, 11:54 PM
What is the status of the proposed balloon surveyor of Mars? The French
attempt with such a device, programmed to put down at various points on the
surface, failed some years ago, as I recall, and I have heard nothing more about what seems a perfectly feasible project.