Space Hopping , an article found in “the Economist,” discusses the possibility of a new kind of space rover. Space rovers, or “robot vehicles which drive across a planet’s surface,” are used to explore and observe the topography and other characteristics of nearby solar bodies such as Mars. And, while conventional wheeled rovers have proven to be successful, they are not without their limitations. Wheeled rovers are prone to getting stuck in sand traps and are unable to navigate obstacles such as rocky terrain and ravines. A research center in Massachusetts, however, has developed a new model for exploration vehicles named that can get around such problems. Named Talaris, this new kind of rover is designed to “hover-hop” over obstacles such as rocky terrain. Thrusters on the bottom and the sides of Talaris allow the rover to take-off, hover, and move laterally. The most exciting feature of the Talaris , though, is actually its “second propulsion system that allows it to simulate low-gravity environments.” Four fans
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