Small, low-cost robots are an important technology for future planetary-science missions. At some destinations, such as Titan, imprecise terrain knowledge and unstable weather cycles make single-robot landings problematic. Teams of robots, landing at multiple locations, would provide redundancy and allow rapid planetary reconnaissance.
Landing large numbers of small robots at multiple locations is difficult with conventional technology. Current robot designs require devices such as parachutes, retrorockets, and airbags to cushion impact and maintain the robot in proper orientation. These devices do not scale down well. NASA envisions teams of dozens (or even hundreds) of small robots, weighing only a few pounds each. Landing these robots will require new technology.
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