3D Printed Mars Rover Smiles to Cartoonish Proportions, Uses Raspberry Pi

The ESA has released a 3D printing code for a miniature Mars rover, and it runs on Raspberry Pi.
Brad Bergan
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A new kind of Mars fever developed with the launch of three interplanetary missions in the last several weeks. Since the overlap between spaceflight and 3D printing enthusiasts is substantial, the European Space Agency (ESA) developed the ExoMy rover for people who want to bring the Mars rover experience home, according to the agency's website.


3D printed rover ExoMy brings Mars rover experience home

The ESA's smiling-face robot feels like it comes from a cartoon, and was adapted from ESA's Rosalind Franklin (formerly ExoMars) rover — which would be on its way to Mars right now if not for the state of calamity we're calling 2020.

The Rosalind Franklin has to wait for the next Mars launch window, but in the meantime, anyone can launch ExoMy missions into their home, thanks to the ESA. Just like the real deal, ExoMy features a triple bogie suspension design that breaks with the rocker-bogie design seen in NASA JPL's rover designs.

Steering every one of its six wheels instead of only four, ExoMy has an unusually tight turn radius, as we can see in a short Instagram video clip.

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Some rocky parkour in my hood. #estec #planet #fitness #esa #exomy #rover #robot #solarpanelswereinthelaundry #prototype #parkour #firstrolls #marsyard

A post shared by ExoMy (@exomy_rover) on

ExoMy runs on Raspberry Pi, remote-controlled

The price to bring ExoMy home lies somewhere between $295 and $590.67 (250€ and 500€), reports Hackaday. The GitHub instructions outline a nervous system built around a Raspberry Pi, and — while its published software stack is set up for remote control — it's already running ROS (Robot Operating System), which means it shouldn't be hard to on-ramp ExoMars builders interested in adding extra autonomy.

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The ExoMy robot joins a suite of open-source rover designs available to everyone with 3D printing, electronics, and solid software skills. It comes on the heels of an earlier (and much larger) project modeled on the Curiosity Mars rover. Two years ago, NASA JPL released an open-source rover aimed at educators.

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