Space agency NASA is developing different technologies to unveil the mysteries of deep space.
The Dragonfly will fly off in 2026 and arrive at Saturn’s icy moon Titan in 2034 looking for signs of life. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle on another planet — it has eight rotors and flies like a large drone. During its 2.7-year baseline mission, the drone will explore diverse environments from organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater.
Originally built for disaster-relief, this ape-like robot developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been modified to move in extreme environments like Saturn’s moon Enceladus. RoboSimian can walk on four legs, crawl, move like an inchworm and slide on its belly like a penguin.
The Mars helicopter is a small, autonomous rotorcraft that will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet. “The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
NASA’s Robonaut 2 was the first humanoid robot ever sent to space in 2011. It spent about four years on the space station before it had a hardwire malfunction in 2015. NASA retrieved it in 2018. After a round of repairs, the Robonaut 2 is now set to return to the space station again. It is made up of multiple component technologies, like vision systems, image recognition systems, sensor integrations, tendon hands, control algorithms, and more.
Mars 2020 Rover
NASA’s yet-tobe-named Mars 2020 is an advanced rover currently being assembled. It will explore and investigate the Jezero crater on Mars and beyond. The nuclearpowered rover will collect and study soil and rock samples that formed in habitable environments of Mars and may preserve signs of past microbial life.
This four-limbed robotic system is being developed with several aspects of climbing. The technologies developed on this platform will be used to build an advanced system that will climb vertical and overhangs slopes while remaining stable as it works.
NASA has developed three new robotic teammates to work alongside astronauts on the International Space Station as they help to advance research. Astrobee, NASA’s new free-flying robotic system, aims to help astronauts reduce the time they spend on routine duties like carrying inventory, documenting experiments etc.
Astrobee (free-floating cubes) quick-facts: - The three robots are named Honey, Queen and Bumble - The robots are shaped like cubes 12.5 inches wide - When needed, the robots can return to their docking station and recharge their battery power - Each floating robot carries a perching arm that allows it to grasp station handrails and assist the astronauts