Robot Hedgehogs to Invade Mars — Seriously!

robot hedgehog

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The robot hedgehogs will be deployed, one by one, from a giant mothership orbiting high above the red Martian surface.

Armed with long, sharp spikes, the hedgehogs will trundle across the alien landscape of the Martian moon Phobos in search of life and important resources, following directions beamed down by the mothership.

Although it reads like the script to a Starship Troopers sequel, this is actually a real proposal for space exploration put forward by researchers at Stanford University.

Working with scientists at NASA and MIT, the Stanford team envisions a fleet of hedgehogs that will provide unprecedented information on smaller celestial bodies such as asteroids and moons.

Hedgehogs mars

Image via gizmag.com

Each roughly the size of a microwave oven, the spiny hedgehogs will bounce and shimmy and wobble about like an electric shiatsu massager on the fritz.

While the mothership — the Phobos Surveyor — utilizes awesome-sounding stuff like gamma rays and neutron detectors to take large-scale measurements, the hedgehogs will bound around looking for finer details and, we can only assume, the hidden underground lairs of reptilian superbeings.

The researchers believe the robotic hedgehogs could be deployed within the next 10 to 20 years — a leap forward that would bring us significantly closer to manned missions to Mars.

Here’s hoping Mars isn’t populated by the robotic hedgehog’s only natural enemy: the large robotic barn owl.

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