posted on March 08, 2013 |
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When it comes to space exploration, robots are the rage these days. Now a German robotics group called DFKI is developing a team of robots that might explore the Moon one day.
The two cleverly named robots, SHERPA and CREX, make up the RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi Robot Exploration System) project, and each is specialized to perform a certain task.
SHERPA, as you can imagine, is a specialized carrier bot. Its 2.4 meter long 200kg body is designed to move over rough terrain rapidly. To do this the robot is equipped with an adaptive suspension system and a “hybrid wheeled-leg”. According to DFKI the “hybrid wheeled-leg… offers not only a relatively energy-efficient locomotion in moderately unstructured terrain, but, as a result of the active suspension system, the rover provides increased mobility so as to free itself if getting stuck and to react flexibly to unforeseen circumstances.”
But what will SHERPA be carrying? Let me introduce you to CREX.
CREX, the Crater Explorer, is a one meter long, light weight, six legged robot. Its job is to explore the interior of lunar craters, particularly areas that are permanently obscured by shadow. The robot’s diminutive size also makes it ideal for exploring lunar caves that may contain water ice.
While we shouldn’t expect this dynamic duo to be exploring the lunar surface in the near future, the engineers at DFKI have certainly created an excellent model for future robotic explorers.
Watch a Few Animations of the Robots:
Images and Video Courtesy of DFKI Robotics Innovation Center