Why is NASA sending spiders to space?
NASA engineers using Autodesk’s artificial intelligence-based design system to develop a new concept for a lightweight interplanetary lander that looks like a spider.
The innovative design of the presented rover has made it possible to achieve a significant reduction in mass, in comparison with previous similar devices for the study of other planets and satellites. It is assumed that the module will be made of titanium or aluminum and will help in the study of the moons of gas giants, on which there may be hidden oceans with living organisms..
«Space spider» consists of 3 parts. The first – it is an internal structure with a set of tools and equipment for exploring distant worlds. The second section is the main body itself, mounted on the third main element – moving supports in the form of insect limbs. The whole structure is about 2.5 m wide and one meter high.
Initially, the designers from Autodesk turned to experts from NASA to advise on the new system, but in the process, the agency became interested in the project and proposed to jointly create a lighter model of the apparatus for research. According to the developers, they were able to reduce the mass of the rover by 35% compared to existing options. The created aluminum structure weighs less than 80 kg and is able to withstand the load from the internal equipment up to 112 kg.
Arachnid Lander Frame.
The US space agency is considering sending an arachnid rover to Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The unique design will allow the module to efficiently navigate rocky surfaces and break through ice to explore subsoil. Engineers say the reduction in mass will significantly reduce the cost of future research missions and install more sensors to collect scientific data..
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text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Autodesk