Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

Hedgehog Robots

A new type of robotic lander that can roll and hop has been created to function in the microgravity of comets and asteroids. Hedgehog is being developed by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, Stanford University in California, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Massachusetts. See it in action at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov (Sept.3, 2015.)

Hedgehog has two prototypes, both of which are cube-shaped with spikes that protect the body while helping the cube hop and tumble on rough terrain. There are 8 spikes and 3 internal flywheels that help operate the spikes. JPL prototype weighs about 11 pounds and may weigh 20 with cameras. Stanford’s prototype is a little smaller with shorter spikes.