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Tetrahedral Robotics for Space Exploration

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23 Author(s)
Steven Curtis ; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt ; Matthew Brandt ; Greg Bowers ; Gary Brown
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A reconfigurable space filling robotic architecture has a wide range of possible applications. One of the more intriguing possibilities is mobility in very irregular and otherwise impassable terrain. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is developing the third generation of its addressable reconfigurable technology (ART) tetrahedral robotics architecture. An ART-based variable geometry truss consisting of 12 tetrahedral elements made from 26 smart struts on a wireless network has been developed. The primary goal of this development is the demonstration of a new kind of robotic mobility that can provide access and articulation that complement existing capabilities. An initial set of gaits and other behaviors are being tested, and accommodations for payloads such as sensor and telemetry packages are being studied. Herein, we describe our experience with the ART tetrahedral robotics architecture and the improvements implemented in the third generation of this technology. Applications of these robots to space exploration and the tradeoffs involved with this architecture will be discussed.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 6 )