Mars Rover Concept Debuts with New Exhibit at Kennedy Space Center
Summer of Mars program surveys NASA’s Mars research
NASA's new conceptual Mars Rover stands ready to greet visitors at the Kennedy Space Center looking like a mashup of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the Dark Knight's Tumbler Batmobile. It's a far cry from the manned lunar rover that explored the moon in the early 1970s.
An electric motor powers the rover and draws its juice from a 700-volt battery and solar panels. Up front the rover is GPS equipped and separates from the rear for agile scouting. The rear segment of the vehicle is a research station for fieldwork.
NASA says the rover won't go into service in the way it appears at the Space Center. However, like concept cars designed for earth, some of the features presented here will make it into the final version that eventually lands on Mars.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is exhibiting the "Summer of Mars," an overview of NASA's Mars research program. NASA plans to land its next rover on the Red Planet in 2020 to look for evidence of microbial life and core samples for potential recovery.
In the meantime, the new Mars rover will tour the East Coast from July through August following its stint at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex through the rest of June. When it returns to the visitor center it will be part of the Astronaut Training Experience attraction.
Photos courtesy of NASA.