A groundbreaking snake-shaped robot designed to autonomously explore uncharted regions on the Moon and Mars is undergoing trials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The brainchild of Indian-origin engineer Rohan Thakker, the robot, aptly named EELS (Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor), takes inspiration from the Indian python’s form and capabilities.
Thakker’s creation boasts remarkable intelligence and flexibility, enabling it to navigate treacherous terrains, delve into crevices and caves, and even function underwater.
Initially tested on simulated Martian landscapes and glaciers, EELS holds immense potential for the search for extraterrestrial life and could also play a crucial role in search and rescue operations during disasters.
A mechanical engineering graduate from Nagpur’s Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Thakker credits his inspiration to IITian Bob Balaram, renowned for designing NASA’s Martian helicopter.
Despite facing academic hurdles, Thakker takes immense pride in his contribution to NASA, having missed out on admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Drawing parallels to a cricket match, Thakker compared India’s recent Chandrayaan-3 mission success to a resounding victory and expressed his unwavering pride in the nation’s lunar exploration endeavours.