+NASA's Spidernaut!
Spidernauts to build spacecraft for Mars and beyond-Earth space missions in orbit!
"NASA Johnson Space Center scientists and engineers think an eight-legged spider configuration on a Robonaut can perform work that would either be too dangerous or would require a level of control that would be difficult for a human in a space suit! Spidernauts are also being developed to utilize their own "web" or space tether technology to move between orbiting superstructures.

With NASA plans to send a manned vehicle to Mars, asteroids and other destinations, the operational guidelines for the missions call for vehicles that are either too large or too fragile to be constructed here on Earth. NASA’s solution is to send several payloads into space to build new space stations that will become space-docks.

These stations will be the staging points for the construction of the vehicles needed to support human life during long inter-planetary journeys. To help with the building process, Spidernaut extra vehicular robots (EVRs) will be deployed!

The scientists at NASA liked the idea of using an arachnid-inspired EVR for the advantages its eight legs would bring to the table for space-borne construction. Using Spidernaut is advantageous because its eight legs will be able to spread the mass of the EVR out while traveling over structures that are in construction and the ability to straddle things like solar arrays and telescope mirrors while performing maintenance. This will allow the EVR to work on said structures without placing them in danger of being damaged by the Spidernaut itself.

The Spidernaut even has the ability to create its own "web", just like a real spider, for use in traveling between two structures. Using space tethers, the EVR can create a support system that will allow it to "crawl" around to the different areas it needs to go. The inclusion of this ability is pure genius on NASA’s part as this support system will be able to bend and flex but not break, making it ideal for the rigors of space.

Right now there is one working prototype in Houston that is being developed for future missions, and is being used as the basis for other EVR’s being built for different purposes."

Read more on NASA's Spidernaut website: http://spidernaut.jsc.nasa.gov
Text Credit: Geek.com article at: http://goo.gl/WMqi0

#Spidernaut #NASA #Robotics #Construction #Engineering #Robonaut #Space #JSC
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