'Mini Rover' Can Wiggle Out of Martian Sand Traps

Georgia Tech  and NASA are working together to make sure the next generation of Mars exploration rovers will be good at climbing hills covered with loose material and avoiding getting trapped on soft granular surfaces. Built with wheeled appendages that can be lifted and wheels able to "wiggle," a new robot called the Mini Rover has complex locomotion techniques robust enough to handle the sand traps of Mars. "Rear rotator pedaling” enables the robot to climb a slope by combining paddling, walking, and wheel spinning motions. The rover’s behaviors were modeled using terradynamics.