Stanford University engineers have created a spider-like robot for the exploration of caves or lava tubes on Mars.

The midsized robot is reportedly capable of exploring areas — namely caves or lava tubes — that would typically be difficult for other larger or smaller robots to access.

Source: Stanford UniversitySource: Stanford University

Taking inspiration from the harvestmen spider, otherwise known as daddy longlegs, which is capable of moving across a wide variety of terrain with ease, the researchers built the ReachBot.

According to the team of engineers, the ReachBot features several extendable, boom-like legs for walking and three-finger-gripper feet that enable the robot to hold onto rock walls. ReachBot is also reportedly capable of exploring thanks to the addition of a processor that looks at potential terrain and subsequently maps out appropriate areas for the robot to place its feet.

During trials of the robot, the engineers determined that the robot could walk up walls and climb across ceilings. The ReachBot was also reportedly capable of exploring lava tubes located in the Mojave Desert.

An article detailing the robot, “Locomotion as manipulation with ReachBot,” appears in the article Science Robotics.

For more on the ReachBot, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Stanford University.

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