NASA tests Mars rover prototype in Chile

Jun 29, 2013
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combining 66 exposures taken by the rover on Mars on February 3, 2013. NASA scientists said Friday they were testing a prototype of a robot the US space agency hopes to send to Mars in 2020 in Chile's Atacama desert.

NASA scientists said Friday they were testing a prototype of a robot the US space agency hopes to send to Mars in 2020 in Chile's Atacama desert.

NASA hopes to use this kind of rover to explore life-friendly sites found by Curiosity, the rover already searching for signs of life on Mars. It has been there since last August.

The researchers say the desert, the driest spot on Earth, mimics the conditions of the Red Planet, and the agency has used it in the past to test space-bound equipment.

The robot, controlled remotely from the US, will continue testing through Sunday.

The solar-powered 771-kilogram (1,700-pound) machine is equipped with cameras and a drill able to dig up to a meter (three feet) deep.

It is testing its sensors, its cameras, its ability to store energy, as it searches for evidence of in the desert.

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maxb500_live_nl
1 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2013
This really is weird. NASA brakes the long deal made with ESA for a joint rover and trace gas orbiter. Claiming it's budgets problems and leaving ESA hanging after comming so far in their development for the 2016 and 2018 stages. Only to then announce they will send their own solar drilling rover 2 years later in 2020. Talk about stabbing your partner in the back. It seems NASA now really doesn't want a European (or other) rover on mars and see them having to share attention. This impression was made very clear by the recent Charles Bolden speech about American leadership.

Of course Mars exploration is one of the declining areas that NASA can call itself a leader in. Others are catching up. Even collaberative US companies like Spacex are stealing the light from NASA. Perhaps they are scared about even more budget cuts. If your not a leader then what are we paying you billions for each year. Congress will cut anything that doesn't show leadership.