One of NASA’s many ambitious plans is conquering the Red Planet. It is one of the most coveted and closest space landmarks that scientists desire to study. The planet has a great scientific potential as it shares many similarities in its construction with our Earth. Scientists want to find out what forms of life Mars used to host. The tools that might help scientists get their answers will be the new origami machines.
PUFFERs Are Origami Machines That Can Take Both 3D and 2D Forms
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory from NASA has just revealed a Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot or PUFFER for short. This prototype can revolutionize the way NASA scientists tackle the Martian exploration. What’s special about this robot is that it can turn into both a 3D and a 2D element. This renders the new invention a great advantage in comparison with rovers. PUFFERs are much cheaper and take up so much less space than their predecessors. Thus, NASA would allow the origami machines to enter dangerous zones and take up samples, which they don’t do with rovers out of concern for their state.
Jaakko Karras is the author of this invention. He got his inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of origami. Thus, he managed to come up with a more efficient solution to the multi-million dollar equipment that is now roaming Mars. He plans to use PUFFERs as sidekicks for NASA rovers. Thanks to their mobility, they can squeeze into narrow caves, survive dangerous falls, and climb steep cliffs. They get their power from solar panels.
The New Equipment Was Tested Under Harsh Conditions
The origami machines are made of a light material and structure. Moreover, it can get flat in a moment by tucking its wheels. It has only two of them. Depending on their position, the robot can roll or crawl. Developers didn’t want to experience any surprise with this scout robot. Thus, they put it to test under rough conditions. They analyzed its adaptability in the Mojave Desert in California as well as Antarctica. The little robot recorded perfect scores under both arid and icy climates. Karras is extremely proud of its PUFFERs.
“They can do parallel science with a rover, so you can increase the amount you’re doing in a day. We can see these being used in hard-to-reach locations – squeezing under ledges, for example.”
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