Image: Robotic hopper

November 28, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: European Space Agency

This walking and hopping robot is currently being tested in ESA's Mars Yard.

SpaceBok is a quadruped designed by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich, under the supervision of Professor Marco Hutter and Ph.D. student Hendrik Kolvenbach, for future missions to the Moon or Mars.

"Legged robots can traverse unstructured terrain and could be used to explore areas of interest, such as craters, which rovers are unable to reach," explains team member Patrick Barton. "As they are very versatile, they can change gait to adapt to different terrain."

"In to other legged robots, SpaceBok is primarily built for hopping," adds team member Elias Hampp. "While this is not particularly useful on Earth, it could reach a height of four metres on the Moon. This would allow for a fast and efficient way of moving forward."

"We are currently implementing and testing vision sensors, to increase SpaceBok's autonomy and robustness," says team member Radek Zenkl.

Explore further: Researchers build first tetherless hopping robot

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