The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to send a snake to Mars, though it is not the type of snake you might have expected. You see, this future traveler to Mars is a robot snake designed to traverse certain terrains that not even the Curiosity Rover is able to maneuver.
Researchers at the SINTEF Research Institute in Norway and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are hoping to take what they have learnt from snakes, and put these findings into practice via a robot. Currently, senior research scientist at SINTEF, Aksel Transeth and his coworkers are examining how well a snake robot would perform on Mars, the red planet of doom.
Right now, things are far from complete as researchers are having a hard time making the snake robot traverse confined and bumpy spaces. If the robot fails to pass these tests in the coming years, it might never see the light of day on Mars.
For those who thought the snake robot would take a trip to Mars by itself, this is not the case. According to Transeth an in a chit chat with ABC News, the robot would be a companion instead of a robot left to explore Mars on its own. A bit disappointing as it would be awesome having a snake robot on Mars going wherever it damn well sees fit.
The ESA’s snake robot could accompany the ExoMars rover-like robot to Mars come 2016, but for that to happen, these tests will have to are fruit, and quickly.
[via ABC News]