PUFFER (Pop-Up Flat-Folding Explorer Robot) is an origami-inspired robot that was developed to provide future NASA missions with simple, low-cost access to new high-value, higher-risk extreme terrains. The development approach took advantage of commercial-off-the-shelf electronics and electronics manufacturing capabilities to assure low-cost production of multiple rover units. This task will develop the necessary autonomy for multiple PUFFERs to support Earth science as well as future Mars and icy moon science mission concepts, where enhanced access to extreme terrains could enable new science.
This project will focus on implementing unit-level autonomy that enables a single PUFFER to autonomously traverse challenging terrain, autonomously detect science-rich features, and autonomously optimize operations around system resources (e.g. power, data storage) to maximize science return. This project will also focus on developing “multi-agent” autonomy that enables multiple PUFFERs to leverage cooperative mobility, communication, and sensing to operate in ways that are not possible with a single rover.
Jean-Pierre de la Croix - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Game Changing Program