NASA has unveiled its Shapeshifter robot concept, which has been developed to explore the atmospheric and hydrological conditions of treacherous, distant worlds. The robots are being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, USA.
The Shapeshifter looks like a drone encased in an elongated hamster wheel. It can roll and split in half. Once separated, the two halves rise on small propellers, effectively becoming flying drones for aerial exploration. In the future, the NASA team imagines a series of up to 12 robots that could transform into a swimming probe or a team of cave explorers.
The flying amphibious robot is part of the early-stage research program NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, which offers several phases of funding to visionary concepts, helping turn ideas that sound like science fiction into science fact.
Read more about this project here.