NASA Ramping Up ‘Cliff-Bots’ To Explore Mars

While it may be some time before humans set foot on Mars, NASA’s near-term plans to explore the Red Planet are moving from the blackboards of the laboratory to the blackness of space. With a history of productive lander missions, two healthy spacecraft currently in Mars orbit and the unqualified success of the Mars Pathfinder mission, it would be easy for NASA to just continue with more of the same. Future Mars orbiters, landers and rovers are in development, but NASA is also working on the next generation of hardware and software solutions for more advanced unmanned exploration. NASA is currently investigating innovative designs such as Snakebots, which move across desert terrain like a sidewinder snake, and Frogbots, which can propel themselves with a hopping motion.