Meet Hedgehog, NASA’s new hopping rover

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Hedgehog is NASA’s new concept for a robot.  It’s smaller and doesn’t have wheels like traditional Mars rovers, for example.

This new robot can hop, tumble and flip over a surface instead of rolling on wheels.  The project is being jointly developed by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Stanford University in Stanford, California; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

“It is shaped like a cube and can operate no matter which side it lands on,” said Issa Nesnas, leader of the JPL team.

Nesnas said the basic concept is a cube with spikes that moves by spinning and braking internal flywheels. The spikes protect the robot’s body from the terrain and act as feet while hopping and tumbling.


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