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NASA May Stage Angry Birds-Style Invasion of Martian Moon


The Angry Birds franchise turned to NASA for the development and promotion of their game Angry Birds Space. Now it appears the space agency is turning to the super-addictive game for their latest strategy to explore the great beyond.

To probe Phobos, a tiny moon of Mars, NASA plans on launching, Angry Birds-style, what they are calling “hedgehogs” over Phobos’ surface. The hedgehogs would be about two feet long and consist of three disks.

Since gravity on Phobos is about 3,000 times less than that on Earth, the hedgehogs would float above the surface. Manipulating the spin of the disks would cause the hedgehogs to dive and jump — like the characters in the Angry Birds video games. This activity would allow NASA to record information from as much of the moon as possible.

‘The problem with [conventional] rovers is, in low gravity, you don’t have any traction. That means your wheels spin and you do not move,” said Stanford professor Marcos Pavone, who developed the hedgehog mission concept for NASA.

The technology to pull of the slingshot-style invasion is still about a decade or two away. But when it does come, expect the mission to last for a long time. As anyone who’s played Angry Birds knows, once you start firing those things it’s hard to stop.

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