Features

NASA’s “Blue-Collar” Mining Robot

NASA’s new robot features a sturdy pair of diggers, and the reliability and strength to work all day, every day, for years. Think of it as a blue-collar robot. The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) is an autonomous machine designed for lunar soil excavation.

altRASSOR uses digging bucket drums at each end of the robot’s body that rotate in opposite directions, giving enough traction on one end to let the opposite side dig into the soil.

The RASSOR looks like a small tank chassis with a drum at either end, each attached with arms. Because they are mounted on moving arms, the drums can act almost as legs, letting the robot step and climb over obstacles. The robot can safely drive off the lander and right itself, flip itself over to get unstuck from fine soil, and lift the whole body off the ground to let its treads run smoothly to remove built up soil. RASSOR is designed to easily make itself into a Z-shaped position to drop its soil collection into the hopper.

Visit www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/RASSOR.html for more information.