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Old 04-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #1
Wizard of Wires
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NASA - Multimedia - Video Gallery

I've been keeping up with the programs that makes these devices. This is just one of several groups doing research in to autonomous powered landing for exploration vehicles.
Not only will it be able to make a pin point landing but it will also be able to pack up and go to another site. Just think. It sets down right on the dime where the scientists want to have a look. When that site is tapped out it fires up and scoots over very rough terrain to another site.
I'm personally leaning toward it being able to get in to terrain so rough a wheeled or tracked platform wouldn't have a chance to traverse.

Now keep in mind what you see in the clip is simply a test bed for the hardware/software package that's the brains of the outfit.
The current Mars rover program used something like one of these to set the rover down with out having to land or bounce around in a balloon lander. Problem with one of these types of landers is the exhaust plume contaminates the landing area. It would have to have a rover to be able to get free of the landing zone. But I envision it would be able to take the rover back onboard and scoot off to another site.
No driving. No getting trapped in a loose soil pit. Go from site A to site B in a matter of minutes.
And when all is said and done and it's out of fuel, turn it in to a fixed location weather station/data relay/research station. It would have to be nuke warmed and powered if it was to last any length of time.

(How's that for random?)
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