DuAxel – NASA’s transforming rover to explore tough terrains on Mars

NASA recently unveiled a new four-wheeled rover called the DuAxel, designed to descend craters and near-vertical cliffs on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The rover can split into two separate two-wheeled rovers.

The rover is made of a pair of two-wheeled rovers called Axel. This four-wheeled configuration allows for driving long distances across rugged landscapes, while the two-wheeled version offers nimbleness over the large one.

Read Also: Elon Musk is working with the US Military to build a 7,500-mph weapons delivery rocket

To tackle hazardous terrain and down slopes, the DuAxel lowers its chassis and anchors it to the ground. With the lower half firmly anchored, the forward undock and rolls away on the single axel and rappels down the slope. Scientific instruments stowed in the wheel hub will help study scientifically attractive locations like crater walls, pits, scarps, vents, and other extreme terrains that would normally be out of reach for bigger, bulkier rovers.

The modular rover performed extremely well during a series of tests conducted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in the Mojave Desert to test the design’s versatility.

DuAxel: A NASA Prototype Rover to Explore the Toughest Terrain. Credit: NASA/JPL

According to Issa Nesnas, a robotics technologist at JPL, “DuAxel performed extremely well in the field, successfully demonstrating its ability to approach a challenging terrain, anchor, and then undock its tethered Axel rover.” Nesnas added, “Axel then autonomously maneuvered down steep and rocky slopes, deploying its instruments without the necessity of a robotic arm.”

Instead of safeguarding itself against dangers like falling or flipping over, the rover is designed to withstand them. It is impossible to immobilize the rover on two wheels.

“DuAxel opens up access to more extreme terrain on planetary bodies such as the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and possibly some icy worlds, like Jupiter’s moon Europa,” Nesnas said.

The Martian surface’s satellite imagery revealed gullies in the crater walls, which could be the perfect candidate for DuAxel to explore. These slopes are too steep for conventional rovers, including Perseverance.

Do you want to publish on Apple News, Google News, and more? Join our writing community, improve your writing skills, and be read by hundreds of thousands around the world!

Source: JPL

More from Space – News Landed

+ Elon Musk is working with the US Military to build a 7,500-mph weapons delivery rocket
+ China selects 18 more astronauts for its manned space station Tiangong

+ Tesla Motors: Facts about the Elon Musk EV company you didn’t know!
+ International scientists unravel common vulnerabilities across SARS CoV-1, SARS CoV-2, and MERS coronaviruses

Related Stories

NASA’s Perseverance rover makes first oxygen on Mars

NASA's Perseverance rover is known for creating history. The robot has recently converted carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere into...

Will Perseverance Pay Off? NASA’s Perseverance rover lands safely on Martian surface Thursday

We may finally get answers to one of life’s biggest questions: Is there other life in the Universe? NASA’s aptly...

Featured Stories

Will Telosa be the “City of the Future” by 2030?

Shenzhen, China was a sleepy fishing village in 1979. A mere forty years later, it is one of the...

Low-cost lead adsorbing water filter designed by Indian students

Two students from India have designed a low-cost lead water filter that can be made with locally sourced materials....

Make it Rain! Dubai uses drones to conjure rain from the skies

You can order food, hail a driver, and even find a spouse with the click of a button; but...

Physicists have created the world’s thinnest magnet. Just one atom thick!

Can you guess the size of the thinnest magnet? It is just one atom thick. Scientists from the University of...

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to avoid self-isolation following ping by NHS contact tracing

Following the Health Secretary's diagnosis with COVID-19, the Prime Minister and Chancellor were notified by NHS Test and Trace...

India is one of the largest producers of COVID vaccine and yet faces major internal shortages

The worsening situation in India finally gained some stabilization around September 2020. Usually, when things start getting better, people...