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Mike P

An ATHLETE in the Arroyo Seco

I was at the Tom Sawyer Camp at Hahamongna Park on Wednesday evening 7/28 when I saw the ATHLETE. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready to take its picture as it slowly drove by. From JPL's website:

Paraphrased from a JPL handout sheet:
"The ATHLETE is the All-Terrain, Hex-Limbed, Extra-Terrestrial Explorer. It is 1/2 scale working prototype of a robot under development to transport habitats and other cargo on the surface of the Moon and Mars.
The prototype stands ~ 4.5m tall and 4.5m wide and weighs 2.5 tons. The robot moves slowly, with a top speed of ~ 2 km/hr (1.25 mph).

Why drive ATHLETE in the Arroyo Seco?

ATHLETE is using the long dirt roads in the Arroyo Seco to test its ability to travel long distances. To meet NASA milestones, ATHLETE must complete a 40 km (25mile) drive through the Arizona desert, traveling 5-10 km per day under its own power. Before the official demonstration, we must test ATHLETE's driving capability to make sure it can handle these distances successfully.

The JPL grounds do not include an unpaved area of sufficient size for testing such a large robot over long distance. In addition, because the robot is so large, transporting it to a test site away from the JPL grounds is prohibitively expensive. Some of the dirt roads in the Arroyo Seco are wide enough for ATHLETE, and its close proximity to JPL allows us to kee the robot secured in its JPL facility between test runs."

It was one of the coolest things I have seen recently. AlanK are you familiar with this project? JPL Robotics & ATHLETE website

Aw, heck, I thought this post was going to be about Jake.  Laughing

Pretty cool.  I'd have loved to have seen that.

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