In response, a team based from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have devised a new lander design that can quickly accommodate various galactic terrains – by sending Hedgehogs! No, not the animal. The ‘Hedgehog’ is a robotic lander, with its prominent spiky features, that’ll be able to easily traverse small bodies throughout the solar system.
“The construction of a Hedgehog robot is relatively low-cost compared to a traditional rover, and several could be packaged together for flight, the researchers say. The mothership could release many robots at once or in stages, letting them spread out to make discoveries on a world never traversed before.” – NASA
According to NASA’s JPL, the ‘Hedgehog’ prototype currently attains eight different spikes and three internal flywheels, giving it the most efficient (to date) terrain-traversing capabilities than any other rover thus far. The current weight of the prototype is at around 11 pounds (5 kilograms), but the JPL team envision a future of ‘Hedgehogs’ that’ll weigh more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms), with various different instruments attached to it, such as cameras and spectrometers. I hope the universe is ready, because Earth is prepared to launch the first ever ‘Hedgehog’ invasion of space!