Author Topic: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers  (Read 1298 times)

Offline Blackjax

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Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« on: 02/11/2012 03:45 pm »
I was looking at this project

http://biorobots.cwru.edu/projects/softworm/

and it seems like it might make some sense as a way of creating an inexpensive rover design which can move along a lot of different surfaces with lower risk of becoming bogged down as happened with Spirit.  The ability to completely seal the outer skin without joints and other types of mechanical connections which might be at risk from lunar/martian dust (or have to be highly engineered so they aren't) would seem to be a particular advantage.  All the moving parts are internal and could be shielded by the outer skin from temperature and other environmental extremes perhaps reducing the cost and complexity of fielding a reliable design. 

Combined with a tether that can be attached to something and unspooled from the rear like a spider does, you might even be able to create a variant that can investigate lava tubes.

Perhaps it could be useful for something like a Google Lunar X-Prize vehicle.  Thoughts anyone?

Offline strangequark

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Re: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« Reply #1 on: 02/11/2012 05:59 pm »
I was looking at this project

http://biorobots.cwru.edu/projects/softworm/

and it seems like it might make some sense as a way of creating an inexpensive rover design which can move along a lot of different surfaces with lower risk of becoming bogged down as happened with Spirit.  The ability to completely seal the outer skin without joints and other types of mechanical connections which might be at risk from lunar/martian dust (or have to be highly engineered so they aren't) would seem to be a particular advantage.  All the moving parts are internal and could be shielded by the outer skin from temperature and other environmental extremes perhaps reducing the cost and complexity of fielding a reliable design. 

Combined with a tether that can be attached to something and unspooled from the rear like a spider does, you might even be able to create a variant that can investigate lava tubes.

Perhaps it could be useful for something like a Google Lunar X-Prize vehicle.  Thoughts anyone?

That is pretty nifty! I wonder how much traction it gets.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« Reply #2 on: 02/11/2012 08:20 pm »
Pretty awesome, looks like it would not be that hard to seal it against dust, just slip a looking for a politically correct term, bag over the design. Of course the question will be how to you attach solar panels and such...
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« Reply #3 on: 02/12/2012 04:35 pm »
That is pretty nifty! I wonder how much traction it gets.

It was successfully moving over a pretty slick surface.  Probably the little pads are rubber or some grippable substance.

If there was a solar powered plant at the top of Whipple crater, and an ice cracking plant in the bottom of the crater, the worm could drag the conduit for electricity down to the plant, and the pipe for the h2/o2 back up to the power plant for processing.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Blackjax

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Re: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« Reply #4 on: 02/14/2012 01:57 pm »
Of course the question will be how to you attach solar panels and such...

I think that cuts to the heart of the challenge on a design like this.  I have been beating my head against this and have to confess I don't know how you'd pull off powering it.  That being said, I did come up with an idea of what might be a useful skin for this design.  It doesn't solve the power problem because it is unlikely to generate anywhere near enough (unless the rover hibernated most of the time while charging and only moved for short periods), but it may be useful at least as a supplement.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28054.0


Offline go4mars

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Re: Continuous Wave Peristaltic Rovers
« Reply #5 on: 02/14/2012 02:22 pm »
Peristaltic subterrene for mining and tunnelling?  The body would just have to be able to shink to the size of the pore space behind the hot head.  Glass extrusion like worm-slime through ports on the body.  Could have application in mining porous deposits like oil sands.  Could even put a centrifuge in the middle for hard-rock mining, or separating secondary minerals. 

 
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