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NASA Releases Blueprint to DIY Curiosity Rover

first_img Like becoming a Disney animator, CIA spy, or startup billionaire, I imagine snagging a job at NASA is a dream many have, but few achieve.Thanks to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, though, you don’t need to update your resume or sweat through interview questions for a chance to build a space rover.Students, hobbyists, and enthusiasts are invited to construct their own cosmic exploration vehicle, based on plans and instructions from JPL’s Open Source Rover Project.Following the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars, the California-based lab built a smaller, educational model—adorably called ROV-E—as a tool for the general public.But, like meeting a friend’s new puppy or spotting the latest fashion trend, folks became excited to adopt a rover of their own. So JPL engineers designed a user-friendly version that could be assembled from off-the-shelf parts for “as little as” $2,500.Meet the JPL Open Source Rover (OSR): a scaled-down replica of the Curiosity.The design is available via GitHub, where anyone can download baseline instructions and test plans to build their own.“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,” according to OSR project sponsor Tom Soderstrom.Makers can follow the instructions exactly, or make their own design choices along the way. JPL suggested adding USB cameras or solar panels, or even attaching science payloads; there is plenty of space for customization.The popular single-board Raspberry Pi computer serves as the “brains” of the operation, promising “versatility, accessibility, simplicity, and ability” for modification. Users can control the system via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB devices, among other methods.“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,” Mik Cox, the project manager, said in a statement.Fully built, the 25-pound mini rover stands 24 inches long and 14 inches wide, with a maximum speed of 6.7 inches per second (about 0.4 mph).With a little imagination and a lot of engineering talent, your technology could one day be used in future missions. Or, perhaps someone might one day launch their own rover into space.“We released this rover as a base model,” Cox said. “We hope to see the community contribute improvements and additions, and we’re really excited to see what the community will add.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesYou Can’t Squish This Cockroach-Inspired Robot Stay on targetlast_img read more

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