A group of scientists has developed a small four-legged robot to be the first powered machine to walk on the surface of the Red Planet. A group of scientists from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in Switzerland and the Max Planck Institute in Germany has developed a small four-legged robot called "SpaceBok" to be the first powered machine to walk on the surface of Mars.
The robot SpaceBok will be able to walk on the surface of Mars alongside other rovers on the planet such as NASA's Perseverance and Curiosity, where these giant vehicles cannot walk over rough terrain. According to scientists, the four legs of the SpaceBok robot will allow it to climb over rugged terrain and possibly search for signs of life that may not have been noticed.
The robot was initially developed to roam across the moon and was programmed to jump rather than walk, but the makers of SpaceBok redesigned it for a Mars walk.
It is not clear when the SpaceBok robot will leave for Mars, and the SpaceBok robot was initially developed, in 2018, to mimic the movements of the Springbok antelope, but it appears that the research team was looking into space and modified the robot’s legs and gait to help it overcome rugged natural areas, and the modifications led To get rid of the normal SpaceBok stride, which has been replaced by fixed movements of each leg.
Hendrik Colfenbach, a robotic scientist at the Federal Institute of Zurich said, we wanted to show that these systems, which operate dynamically today, can indeed walk on the sands of Mars. This is a technology that has a lot of potentials now and in the future.
SpaceBok was recently tested in a large sandbox-like arena within a rock-filled laboratory environment that mimics Martian soil. The robot was tested in different ways of walking, from small hoof-like feet to flat, round feet with cleats for added stability, and SpaceBok was able to keep its foot stable on a 25-degree incline.
The researchers also fitted SpaceBok with an algorithm that monitors energy usage and determines the most efficient path to take based on how much energy the robot has.