Home / Gadgets / NASA’s Open Source Rover lets you build your own planetary exploration platform

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


Acquired some spare time this weekend? Why not construct 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 so that you can peruse and use — simply be sure to’ve received $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 needed to create one thing somewhat smaller and fewer complicated that it might use for instructional functions. ROV-E, as they referred to as this new rover, traveled with JPL workers all through the nation.

Unsurprisingly, among the many many questions requested was typically whether or not a category or group might construct certainly one of their very own. The reply, sadly, was no: although far cheaper and sophisticated than an actual Mars rover, ROV-E was nonetheless too costly and sophisticated to be a category undertaking. So JPL engineers determined to construct 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 easier and use off the shelf parts.

“I’d like to have had the chance to construct this rover in highschool, and I hope that by this undertaking we offer that chance to others,” mentioned JPL’s Tom Soderstrom in a post announcing the OSR. “We needed to provide again to the group and decrease the barrier of entry by giving fingers on expertise to the subsequent technology 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. Yow will discover all of the components within the regular provide catalogs and shops, however you’ll additionally want a set of fundamental instruments: a bandsaw to chop metallic, a drill press might be a good suggestion, a soldering iron, snips and wrenches, and so forth.

“In our expertise, this undertaking takes at least 200 person-hours to construct, and relying on the familiarity and talent stage of these concerned may very well be considerably extra,” the project’s creators write on the GitHub page.

So mainly except you’re actually rocket scientists, count on double that. Though JPL notes that they did work with faculties to regulate the constructing course of and directions.

There’s flexibility constructed into the plans, too. So you may load customized apps, join payloads and sensors to the mind, and modify the mechanics nonetheless you’d like. It’s open supply, in spite of everything. Make it your individual.

“We launched this rover as a base mannequin. We hope to see the group contribute enhancements and additions, and we’re actually excited to see what the group will add to it,” mentioned undertaking supervisor Mik Cox. “I’d like to have had the chance to construct this rover in highschool, and I hope that by this undertaking we offer that chance to others.”



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