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NASA demos RASSOR their “Blue collar” robot that will mine Mars for rocket fuel

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

NASA is prepping robots for Mars so humans can get on with the important stuff.

 

A NASA robot which is programmed to dig for water, oxygen and rocket fuel could be the first step in colonising Mars – whether that’s via a NASA mission, or, as is more probable in a public private partnership with companies such as SpaceX whose founder Elon Musk recently announced he intends to put man on Mars within the next six years.

 

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The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) is intended to be the first of a wave of worker robots that will be sent to the red planet and once these machines are able to ascertain what resources they can get from Mars, they can stockpile them ready for human visitors.

RASSOR rolls on drums as opposed to wheels to allow it to to excavate surface soil and create traction for mobility and the clip below shows RASSOR digging with MARCO POLO and the Mars Pathfinder to gather soil and place it into an oven for processing.

 

 

RASSOR will work 16 hours a day and can move up to 2.8st in weight, travelling five times faster than the Mars Curiosity Rover.

As the NASA STI paper states regarding a Martian colony:

“The crew is there to explore, and to colonize, not maintain and repair. Any time spent on ‘living there’ and ‘housekeeping’ should be minimized to an oversight role of robotic automated tasks.”

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Comments (1)

[…] Trips to Mars will need spaceships, such as the forthcoming SpaceX Falcon Heavy, big enough to carry much more fuel and supplies than previous spacecraft, and sending care package after care package from Earth just won’t cut it. This is why so far every plan to colonise Mars, and the Moon for that matter – something that the European Space Agency (ESA) will start work on this year with their Moon Village – requires astronauts to be able to manufacture their habitats, such as the one NASA debuted recently, and other equipment, from their local environment using a combination of 3D printing and NASA mining robots like RASSOR. […]

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