NASA’s Super Ball Bots Set to Explore Saturn’s Largest Moon?

Dec 30, 2013 09:21 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

NASA researchers are supposedly developing lightweight rovers called "Super Ball Bots" that could make it easier to bring important equipment to other planets and moons, according to the International Business Times.

Vytas SunSpiral, Adrian Agogino and their colleagues at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California have been working on the Super Ball Bot idea and development.

One of the important features the rovers will provide is easier landings, that won't require parachutes and airbags, according to NASA.

 "These robots can be lightweight, absorb strong impacts, are redundant against single-point failures, can recover from different landing orientations and are easy to collapse and uncollapse," NASA said in a statement. "We believe tensegrity robot technology can play a critical role in future planetary exploration."

The Super Ball Bot can supposedly absorb the impact of a drop of up to 60 miles over a planet's surface, according to a report published by the team at the Ames Research Center. The rovers are being designed to compress and bounce until coming to a safe landing.

Its "pliable exoskeleton" can preserve delicate appliances aboard the vessel, according to the team.

"With a tensegrity structure, the entire structure shares the burden of reducing that stress, which is what you see in human bodies," said SunSpiral, according to

Click here to read the team's report.

Tensegrity has been described as "a technique for building a structure that uses compression elements to balance tensile force," according to

Eventually the rover could be used to explore Saturn's largest moon Titan, which NASA has wanted to explore for a long time now.

The team of researchers were recently awarded a big grant to continue developing the Super Ball Bot, but no timetable has been set for its first space mission.

See Now: OnePlus 6: How Different Will It Be From OnePlus 5?

© 2021 Auto World News, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Get the Most Popular Autoworld Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
Real Time Analytics