All Terrain Hex Limbed Extra Terrestrial Explorer
( A portion of the article)
The Winnebago isn't exactly a marvel of technology. But there is a good chance that NASA's next generation of lunar travelers will live and work out of a two-piece system mobile robot and habitat combination that will allow astronauts to bring base camp with them Âthat has plenty in common with the humble RV.
What you see on this page is the part that makes this home mobile: Athlete (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer), a six-limbed habitat-hauler being developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Made of aluminum, this prototype Athlete is eight feet wide and seven feet tall. It gets around using six independently controlled legs equipped with ultra-light wheels. In more-challenging terrain, the wheels can lock in place and function as feet, allowing Athlete to tiptoe through boulder-strewn fields or climb up steep hills. The mission-ready robot, which will be about twice the size of the prototype pictured here and made of steel, should be able to haul a load of up to 15 tons pretty much anywhere it wants to Âas long as it obeys a 3mph speed limit. That is about as fast as you can go without risking flipping over because of the low gravity, explains Brian Wilcox, the primary investigator on the Athlete project.
Here is an informational video of the ATHLETE.
Here is a video of the ATHLETE in action!
( Photo from http://www.pestaola.gr/img1/nasa-athlete-rover.jpg)