Source: News Bharati English20 Nov 2015 14:50:13
New York, November 20: NASA has unveiled the Super Ball robot, the space agency’s newest tool for space exploration specifically designed for landing safely on distant planets with unstudied terrains and landscapes, always a challenge for spacecraft and exploration vehicles.
The creation, designed by engineers from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, resembles a baby toy made of wire and rods that is indestructible, and as such scientists believe it can handle strong impacts like those caused by landing on a planet’s surface.
The idea came to NASA’s developers when they first saw the toy falling it was absorbing impact of landing on the ground surprisingly well and they decided that this physical principle, known as tensegrity, is perfect for space robotics.
The term tensegrity was initially invented by American architect Buckminster Fuller, who described it as the principle of “structural-relationship” in which the “shape [of structure] is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compressional member behaviors.” One common example of tensegrity structure in nature, according to Smithstonian.com, is a spider web, which is incredibly strong and yet remains flexible.