Leaping robots could embark on interplanetary exploration

Just as ASTRO and NextSat get ready for decommissioning, a duo of lightweight leapers are getting geared up to take the proverbial next step from testing to interplanetary exploration. Jollbot and Glumper, crafted by a group of mechanical engineers from the University of Bath, could provide solutions to "traveling across rough terrain, such as climbing stairs and jumping fences, that normally create obstacles for wheeled and walking robots." The machines utilize biologically inspired mechanisms that enable them to clear heights of up to 1.17-meters and capriole forward about two-meters at a time. Researchers are hoping to equip the devices with solar panels in order to keep them juiced up and ready to pounce at a moment's notice (you know, in case a stray asteroid comes zipping in), but there's been no plans made yet to get devices such as these launched into orbit.