Sensors are based on purely mechanical components, capable of surviving hellish pressure and temperature on the planet’s surface
NASA announced the winners of a competition for the design of sensors for a vehicle (rover) capable of surviving the hellish conditions on the surface of Viruses.
Due to the extreme temperature (464 C on average) and pressure (92 times that of Earth) on the surface, Viruses are an extremely inspired place for electronic components. The aim of the contest was to build a system of mechanical and passive sensors, which help the AREE rover (Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments, Rover Autmato for Extreme Environments) to navigate the environment around it.
According to the space agency, the response of the participants was “so incredible” that in addition to the three first placed, another 10 projects received an honorable mention. The first place, with a prize of US $ 15 thousand (R $ 80 thousand), went to Venus Feelers, by Egyptian architect and product designer Youseef Ghali.
The sensor uses two mobile arms with three wheels mounted on the tip (like a fidget spinner) to detect holes, gullies and rocks. All made with flexible bearings, levers, springs and axles. Check the operation on the video below:
Second place, with a prize of US $ 10,000 (R $ 53,000), went to the “Team Rovetronics” of the USA, which created a kind of mechanical arm that follows the contour of the terrain in front of the vehicle, as shown in the video. below. Third place and US $ 5,000 (R $ 26,700) went to Callun Heron and his Direction Biased Obstacle Sensor (DBOS).
In addition, Kob Art, from Latvia, took $ 2,000 (R $ 10,700) for the “best prototype” with his AMII system, which conceptually looks similar to the Venus Feelers (see video below). Another $ 2,000 went to Matthew Reynolds with “ECHOS”, which uses “mechanical sonar” to detect obstacles.
Despite being closer than Mars, Viruses are little explored, as their dense atmosphere prevents even direct observations via satellite. The record for staying on the surface was 127 minutes with the Soviet Venera 13 probe in 1982, which was destroyed by the environment. NASA expects AREE to last “months”.
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