One small step for man, one giant step for man’s best friend.
Like a dog with a bone, scientists are desperate to find out the secrets of Mars.
So much so that they’re planning on sending robot canine explorers to map out the buried tunnels beneath the Red Planet.
Boffins are equipping mechanical four-legged friends with artificial intelligence to prepare them for sniffing out Mars’ many caves.
The bots will autonomously navigate treacherous alien terrain to give researchers a clearer idea of what lies ahead for mankind.
Experts from the NASA/JPL-Caltech introduced the Mars Dog at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
The robotic pups will be able to explore in ways that the iconic Rovers previously dispatched Mars never could, Live Science reported.
Scientists will fit the bots with sensors to allow them to avoid rocky obstacles, and in-built software will allow them to build virtual maps of buried tunnels.
The walking dog will be well-suited for navigating tricky tunnels, and going deep underground.
The scientists said: “Toppling does not mean mission failure. Using recovery algorithms, the robot can self-right from a multitude of falls."
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A Mars Dog would be 12 times lighter than Rovers such as Curiosity, and will be able to move much faster.
Tests suggest the bot will move at 3mph, compared to a wheeled rover which motors at 0.09mph.
The AI dog, dubbed Au-Spot, was designed by a group of 60 scientists and researchers and is fit with sensors and software to scan its environment.
Scientists hope that the Mars Dog will be able to explore the secrets of Mars’ underground tunnels which could harbour evidence of alien life.
Legged robots, which have bene enlisted by the US army here on earth, can walk around rocks and lower themselves into tunnels.
They will then be able to beam their maps and data to boffins on earth and unlock hidden mysteries buried beneath the Red Planet.
The scientists finished: "These behaviours could one day enable revolutionary scientific missions to take place on the Martian surface and subsurface, thereby pushing the boundaries of NASA's capability in exploring traditionally inaccessible sites.”
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