Before hardware is shot into space, it needs to be put through its paces on Earth.
A prototype of the Asteroid Redirect Mission robotic capture module system is tested with a mock asteroid boulder in its clutches at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The robotic portion is targeted for launch in 2021.
The hardware involved here includes three space frame legs with foot pads, two seven degrees of freedom arms that have with microspine gripper “hands” to grasp onto the boulder.
The mock boulder – made from rock, styrofoam, plywood and an aluminium endoskeleton – arrived in four pieces.