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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Retractable Robotic Anchor for Hard Rock and Granular Soils

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Retractable Robotic Anchor for Hard Rock and Granular Soils, Phase I
ProtoInnovations proposes to research, develop, and validate an innovative retractable robotic anchoring mechanism that works both in hard rock and granular soils permitting anchoring and subsequent repositioning of a lander, rover or other equipment. Our goal is to support a number of mission targets to Mars, the Moon, and asteroids. The technology proposed here is of special value to planetary missions involving extreme terrain mobility, small body/microgravity mobility, and missions that involve forceful interaction with the environment (e.g. drilling, digging, etc.) These missions are all ranked as High Priorities in NASA's Robotics, Tele-robotics, and Autonomous Systems Roadmap Technology Area 04 (April 2012). The use of retractable anchors could also benefit missions involving multi-rover exploration, instrument employment, infrastructure emplacement, etc. In Phase 1 we will: 1- Research the mechanics of robotic anchoring in hard rock and soft soils; 2- Design and prototype a working robotic anchoring mechanism; 3- Conduct proof-of-concept and performance characterization testing; 4- Demonstrate the weight holding capacity of the prototype anchoring mechanism on a vertical and inverted surface. More »

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