Mars Axle Robot makes sample collection on the red planet much easier

When you send a robot to Mars, you've got to make sure it can handle the terrain without getting itself stuck. That requires a pretty robust vehicle. But you also want to be able to collect samples, and those aren't always located in easy-to-reach locations, especially when you're remotely controlling something on a different planet.

That's why the Mars Axle robot is in development. Designed to come attached to a Mars rover, it is extremely simple. It can get to all sorts of areas, and if connected by a cable to its host rover, can even hang off the sides of cliffs to take samples. It's versatile enough to collect all sorts of samples, but it can just reconnect with the main rover for other functions and further travel. It'll hold us over until people get there, at least.

Via BotJunkie