You know the time is coming that we are going to need a lot of new toys and tools for space. I'm talking about tools that can perform a number of different functions. Something like the ATHLETE from N.A.S.A .
Photo credit: NASA
NASA’s All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extraterrestrial Explorer (aka ATHLETE) is a game-changing, exploratory mecha-spider that will be used to colonize the Moon. True to its name, each spindly limb features six degrees of freedom, enabling it to contort itself over rough, cratered patches of moonscape. Each limb is tipped with a retractable wheel for quicker locomotion over smoother terrain.
ATHLETE is also a handyman that packs a well-stocked tool kit. Its dexterous extremities can grip the scoops, drills, and grippers needed to give the Moon a full physical.
Primarily, though, the machine is a beast of burden built for heavy lifting. In the image above, it’s shown carrying a habitation module. Taller than a basketball hoop with its minimum height of 4 meters (13 ft), ATHLETE is an accomplished Olympic lifter, capable of hoisting 400 kilograms (900 lb) of gear over its head—in Earth’s gravity!
Most importantly, ATHLETE’s nimble frame gives it the agility needed to transport supplies, unlike the immobile, cargo-laden landers of the past and present.
Now, this bad boy seems to ave just what we need up there. Sort of a pocket tool for space, ya know?
Coffee out on the patio this morning.