For quite some time scientists have harbored an interest in exploring Saturn’s moon Titan with many believing that the below the Nitrogen-rich atmosphere there is a possibility of life in its deep lakes of liquid methane and ethane. For the purpose of this mission, NASA is in the process of testing a new Transformer-like Shapeshifter robot.
NASA testing a new shape-shifting robot to explore Saturns moon Titan in the future
As per NASA, this new robot would be capable of morphing into multiple configurations. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA is currently testing a 3D-printed prototype of Shapeshifter. NASA says that the robot looks like “a drone encased in an elongated hamster wheel” and that it can split into two halves that use small propellers making the robot float through the air like drones.
If the testing is successful then the future version of the Shipshifter would be like a ‘mothercraft’ lander housing 12 mini-robots or ‘cobots’. The mothercraft would act as the main power source and would carry a set of scientific instruments that would analyze surface samples. The cobots, on the other hand, could work together to transport the mothercraft to different locations on the surface.
However, if you believe that this mission is going to take off any time soon, then don’t get your hopes up. While NASA could give the go-ahead for the Shapeshifter the launch is most likely very far off. Even so, these tests could spawn separate missions to find extraterrestrial life.