Engineer who failed to get into IIT creates NASA's snake-like robot EELS, inspired by Indian python
NASA's EELS, a snake-like robot designed for autonomous exploration of the Moon and Mars, was created by Rohan Thakker, an Indian engineer who, despite failing to secure admission to IIT, drew inspiration from the Indian python for the innovative design.
NASA is currently testing an innovative snake-like robot designed for autonomous exploration of uncharted areas on the Moon and Mars. Developed by Indian-origin engineer Rohan Thakker at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the robot, named EELS (Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor), draws inspiration from the Indian python. Thakker explained in an interview with NDTV that EELS is intelligent and flexible, capable of navigating harsh terrains, exploring crevices, caves, and even swimming underwater.
"The robot will help in search for life on other planets," he said.
The robot's primary purpose is to aid in the search for extraterrestrial life on other planets, as it can traverse diverse environments. Thakker highlighted that EELS has undergone testing on artificial Martian terrains and glaciers, demonstrating its adaptability. Beyond space exploration, the snake robot could be utilized in search and rescue operations during disasters.
Rohan Thakker, who studied at Nagpur and lacked an exceptional academic record, shared his journey from being a "pretty bad student in school" to working at NASA. "I was a pretty bad student in school. I failed to get into IIT but I ended up at NASA," he told NDTV.
He credited his inspiration to IITian Bob Balaram, known for designing the Martian helicopter for NASA. Thakker expressed pride in India's achievements, particularly the recent Chandrayaan-3 mission, comparing it to the excitement of a cricket match.
Overall, the snake robot project reflects advancements in space exploration technology and the contribution of diverse talent to innovative initiatives like those at NASA.