AU-Spot: Robot to explore Mars caves


We have already divulged here on TecMundo the feats of Spot, the Boston Dynamics robot dog, which started to be sold to anyone, to carry out some tasks, such as carrying small packages, climbing stairs, walking through rough terrain and even herding cattle.

In December last year, during the American Geophysical Union (AGU) annual meeting, scientists presented a turbocharged version of Spot: the Au-Spot, equipped with artificial intelligence and a series of detection sensors, which will have the mission of walking through of rugged terrain and explore the underground caves of the planet Mars.

Adopted by NASA / JPL-Caltech researchers, the robot will give rise to a new “race” of robots on Mars, which will join its intelligent colleagues with wheels already present on the Red Planet, such as Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and the newly – launched Perseverance.

How can Au-Spot act on Mars?

Despite the invaluable services being provided to science, the rovers used on Mars are restricted to flat surfaces, but many scientifically attractive regions of the planet are located on uneven terrain or below ground, which makes robotic dogs the most suitable for task, as they are able to fall and get up.

Another advantage of Au-Spot in relation to other rovers is that it weighs about 12 times less, indicating that it could travel faster. The sensors attached to these dogs allow them to avoid obstacles, choose between various paths and build virtual maps of available tunnels and caves,

Internal knowledge of Mars caves can be vital to provide shelter for future human colonies, providing natural protection against deadly ultraviolet radiation, extreme cold and constant dust storms, which can last for weeks, and are so massive that they are detectable in ordinary telescopes on Earth.

In the final conclusions of the AGU meeting, scientists recognized the Au-Dog’s potential to help NASA explore traditionally inaccessible locations


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