NASA is prepping robots for Mars so humans can get on with the important stuff
A NASA robot which is programmed to dig for water, oxygen and rocket fuel could be the first step in colonising Mars – whether that’s via a NASA mission, or, as is more probable in a public private partnership with companies such as SpaceX whose founder Elon Musk recently announced he intends to put man on Mars within the next six years.
The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) is intended to be the first of a wave of worker robots that will be sent to the red planet and once these machines are able to ascertain what resources they can get from Mars, they can stockpile them ready for human visitors.
RASSOR rolls on drums as opposed to wheels to allow it to to excavate surface soil and create traction for mobility and the clip below shows RASSOR digging with MARCO POLO and the Mars Pathfinder to gather soil and place it into an oven for processing.
RASSOR will work 16 hours a day and can move up to 2.8st in weight, travelling five times faster than the Mars Curiosity Rover.
As the NASA STI paper states regarding a Martian colony:
“The crew is there to explore, and to colonize, not maintain and repair. Any time spent on ‘living there’ and ‘housekeeping’ should be minimized to an oversight role of robotic automated tasks.”