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NASA’s next robot rover squishes like a child’s toy

27
Dec
2013

In order to land on the Martian surface, NASAs Mars Rover Curiosity went through seven minutes of terror: it plummeted from the sky at 13,000 miles per hour, with only a supersonic parachute and a set of rocket motors to keep it from becoming a crater. However, a team at NASA has a nifty trick up its sleeves for the next time around: a rover made of hollow rods and elastic cable that can squish and bounce. Just like the Skwish, a popular childs toy developed in the early 80s, NASAs Super Ball Bot uses the principles of tensegrity to do its job. While NASA scientists are still proving that the concept works and figuring out the best way to control it as it rolls, they currently believe they could hang a payload inside the contraption and drop it onto a planet with little damage at all.

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