NASA’s Open Source Rover lets you build your own planetary exploration platform – TechCrunch

NASA’s Open Source Rover lets you build your own planetary exploration platform – TechCrunch

Got some spare time this weekend? Why not build your self a working rover from plans supplied by NASA? The spaceniks on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have all of the plans, code, and supplies for you to peruse and use — simply be sure that you’ve obtained $2,500 and a little bit of engineering know-how. This factor isn’t made out of Lincoln Logs.

The story is that this: after Curiosity landed on Mars, JPL wished to create one thing somewhat smaller and fewer complicated that it may use for academic functions. ROV-E, as they known as this new rover, traveled with JPL employees all through the nation.

Unsurprisingly, among the many many questions requested was typically whether or not a category or group may build one in every of their own. The reply, sadly, was no: although far cheaper and complicated than an actual Mars rover, ROV-E was nonetheless too costly and complicated to be a category challenge. So JPL engineers determined to build one which wasn’t.

The result’s the JPL Open Source Rover, a set of plans that mimic the important thing parts of Curiosity however are less complicated and use off the shelf parts.

“I would love to have had the opportunity to build this rover in high school, and I hope that through this project we provide that opportunity to others,” mentioned JPL’s Tom Soderstrom in a post announcing the OSR. “We wanted to give back to the community and lower the barrier of entry by giving hands on experience to the next generation of scientists, engineers, and programmers.”

The OSR makes use of Curiosity-like “Rocker-Bogie” suspension, nook steering and pivoting differential, permitting motion over tough terrain, and the mind is a Raspberry Pi. You can discover all of the components within the common provide catalogs and shops, however you’ll additionally want a set of fundamental instruments: a bandsaw to chop steel, a drill press might be a good suggestion, a soldering iron, snips and wrenches, and so forth.

“In our experience, this project takes no less than 200 person-hours to build, and depending on the familiarity and skill level of those involved could be significantly more,” the project’s creators write on the GitHub page.

So principally except you’re actually rocket scientists, anticipate double that. Although JPL notes that they did work with colleges to regulate the constructing course of and directions.

There’s flexibility constructed into the plans, too. So you can load customized apps, join payloads and sensors to the mind, and modify the mechanics nevertheless you’d like. It’s open supply, in any case. Make it your own.

“We released this rover as a base model. We hope to see the community contribute improvements and additions, and we’re really excited to see what the community will add to it,” mentioned challenge supervisor Mik Cox. “I would love to have had the opportunity to build this rover in high school, and I hope that through this project we provide that opportunity to others.”

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