On the surface of Mars there are many steep banks of dried rivers, where the remains of plants and animals that lived on the planet can be stored. We cannot yet search for signs of life in such dangerous territories, because the current rovers, such as the Curiosity, cannot climb vertical surfaces. However, the situation may soon change radically, because the NASA space agency has completed tests of a rock climbing climber called LEMUR. He successfully climbed one of the mountains of the United States with his spiked hands, and found the fossil remains of ancient algae, which means that even the search for life on Mars is within his power.
Tests were held on the so-called Death Valley – the hollow between two large mountains located in the state of California. This place is often used by space companies to test rovers, because with its stony and dry landscape it is very similar to the Red Planet. Recently, for example, the landing system of the Mars-2020 rover was tested on this valley.
New robots from NASA
The LEMUR robot has been developed by the space agency for a long time – the first mentions of a robotic climber appeared back in 2013. Already in those days, he could climb on vertical surfaces with his hands, which cling to irregularities on the rocks with the help of hundreds of hooks. Thanks to them, during the last test, the robot was able to climb a real rock and find on it the fossilized remains of algae, which grew 500 million years ago.
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You should not be surprised that the algae were found on the rock. The fact is that millions of years ago in the Mojave Desert, where the valley is located, there was a huge sea. It is likely that with a thorough study of the rocky surface with the help of his scientific tools, the robot could even find the remains of ancient animals.
Mars rovers learn to climb mountains
Unfortunately, he will no longer be able to search for ancient animals, because the LEMUR project is now considered closed. The vehicle will not be sent to Mars, but other rovers-climbers are already being created on its basis. One of them is the robotic Ice Worm worm, which is able to climb on icy rocks, relying on deep holes made in them.
Robot Ice Worm
Also, the robot RoboSimian, which is on our list of the best life savers, can be used to search for the remains of life on the Martian rocks. It looks like a giant spider, which with the help of its four legs can easily move around stony terrain – engineers can easily teach him to climb mountains.
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