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Rolling robotic 'hedgehogs' could explore Martian moon

The Verge
Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Rolling robotic 'hedgehogs' could explore Martian moonA team of researchers thinks that small, spiked robots might be our best option for exploring space. Stanford's Marco Pavone, along with scientists from NASA and MIT, are working on prototype "hedgehogs" — autonomous rounded rovers a half-meter wide that could tumble over short distances and hop longer ones. Unlike current wheel- or tread-based rovers, the spheres would have greater freedom of movement and take advantage of a weak gravitational pull, using three rotating discs to shift its center of gravity. The ideal testing ground would be Phobos, a moon of Mars. Research on Phobos could yield information about Mars itself, laying groundwork for a future manned mission to the planet. As such, it's being funded by NASA's Innovative...
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