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University Teams ‘Take Off the Training Wheels’ to Develop Alternative Rovers

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded nearly $1.2 million to seven university teams through the 2022 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge to design, develop, and demonstrate innovative and cost-effective robotic systems that go beyond traditional wheeled rovers and move in different ways – including rovers that hop, slither, and roll.

As NASA expands its space exploration to more extreme terrain on the Moon, solutions to moving in harsh environments are integral. The BIG Idea Challenge spurs development of innovative technologies to meet the agency’s Artemis program goals to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and use what we learn on the Moon to send humans to Mars.

The ability to move in different ways, or adaptive locomotive modality, is vital to enabling extreme terrain exploration. The capability to explore areas that are currently inaccessible will open new opportunities for science and in-situ resource utilization operations. The selected teams will develop integrated robotic solutions, with prototypes incorporating a minimal level of sensing, autonomy, and other necessary elements needed for a relevant test.

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  • Parabolic Arc
  • February 25, 2022