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Description

To grip rocks on the surfaces of asteroids and comets, and to grip the cliff faces and lava tubes of Mars, a 250 mm diameter omni-directional anchor is presented that utilizes a hierarchical array of claws with suspension flexures, called microspines, to create fast, strong attachment. Prototypes have been demonstrated on vesicular basalt and a‘a lava rock supporting forces in all directions away from the rock. Each anchor can support >160 N tangent, >150 N at 45, and >180 N normal to the surface of the rock. A two-actuator selectively-compliant ankle interfaces these anchors to the Lemur IIB robot for climbing trials. A rotary percussive drill was also integrated into the anchor, demonstrating self-contained rock coring regardless of gravitational orientation. As a harder-than-zero-g proof of concept, 20mm diameter boreholes were drilled 83 mm deep in vesicular basalt samples, retaining a 12 mm diameter rock core in 3-6 pieces while in an inverted configuration, literally drilling into the ceiling.

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