|The RASSOR's "design incorporates net-zero reaction force, thus allowing it to load, haul, and dump space regolith under extremely low gravity conditions with high reliability."|
|... NASA has been quietly working on ways to harvest Martian resources for some years—a necessary step to ultimately realize a self-sustained Martian colony. ...|
Which is where the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) comes in (see video above). The robot, which could be affixed to a rover or made into a rover itself, uses a rotating digging device to scoop up soils that could then be used for resource extraction. As NASA writes on its website, the RASSOR's "design incorporates net-zero reaction force, thus allowing it to load, haul, and dump space regolith under extremely low gravity conditions with high reliability."
The bot in the video below is actually the RASSOR 2.0, a scaled-up prototype of the original 2013 design. If we are going to build a self-sustained colony on Mars in the foreseeable future, the first step will be sending a host of robots like RASSOR to the Red Planet to get to work building our Martian home for us. 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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