Engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) have built a mini Mars rover using 3D printers and commercially available components. To be more specific, it’s based on the Resource Prospector 15 (RP15) prototype from 2015 that uses 12 different motors to drive its four wheels. This miniature version can crawl or paddle out of obstacles. Read more for a video and additional information.
So far, they’ve successfully tested the mini rover on a steep poppy seed slope and also for a drive around the Johnson Space Center through a flat, moist bed of sand. This early prototype only has three fully functioning appendages, but hope to one day use this data to build larger robots in the future.
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By creating a small robot with capabilities similar to the RP15 rover, we could test the principles of locomoting with various gaits in a controlled laboratory environment,” said team member Andras Karsai, a physics doctoral student at Georgia Tech.