Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Claw inspired by sea urchins' mouth can scoop up Martian soil

The claw-like device can be attached to rovers.
2 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

A sea urchin's mouth looks pretty terrifying, but the teeth inside can demolish even the toughest rocks. That's why the nightmare fuel inspired a group of UC San Diego researchers to create a claw-like device that can scoop up soil on extraterrestrial environments. The group of engineers and marine biologists 3D-scanned the mouth of a Strongylocentrotus fragilis, which is more commonly known as pink urchin, for the project. To copy the animal's mouth, they arranged the device's teeth in a dome-like formation. They open outwards and close in, just like one of those claw games in the arcade.

The group also mimicked the T-shaped structure found on each urchin tooth. They found that teeth with these structures called keels "experienced 16 percent less stress than teeth without keels when subjected to a 10-pound load." It took them three tries to get the right design, 3D printing each one for testing. The team attached the final product to a small remote-controlled rover and had it scoop up dirt that has the same density as Martian soil.

They believe the claw is a more effective solution than shovels for collecting sediments on moons and other planets, as it doesn't disturb a big part of the surface. If NASA or private companies like SpaceX are interested, the researchers envision tiny rovers roaming other worlds and scooping up dirt to bring back to a bigger, main vehicle.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
2 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ gathered location data while users slept

‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ gathered location data while users slept

View
Yahoo is shutting down its Groups website and deleting all content

Yahoo is shutting down its Groups website and deleting all content

View
Google discontinues Clips, the AI-powered camera you forgot about

Google discontinues Clips, the AI-powered camera you forgot about

View
Netflix grows to 158 million subscribers as Disney+ looms

Netflix grows to 158 million subscribers as Disney+ looms

View
Virgin Galactic passengers will wear these Under Armour spacesuits

Virgin Galactic passengers will wear these Under Armour spacesuits

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr