NASA tests Mars rover prototype in Chile

June 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.

Explore further: Zoe robot returns to Chile's Atacama Desert On NASA mission to search for subsurface life

Related Stories

Dry run for the 2020 Mars mission

June 25, 2013

(Phys.org) —A film director looking for a location where a movie about Mars could be shot might consider the Atacama Desert, one of the harshest landscapes the planet has to offer. Due to the accidents of its geography, ...

NASA rover launch to Mars delayed to Nov 26

November 21, 2011

The US space agency has postponed by one day its plan to launch the biggest rover ever to Mars, with the liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory now set for November 26.

Next Mars rover nears completion

April 7, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

Recommended for you

New dwarf satellite galaxy of Messier 83 found

December 5, 2016

(Phys.org)—Astronomers have found a new dwarf satellite of Messier 83 (M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy) located some 85,000 light years from its host. This satellite galaxy was designated dw1335-29 and could ...

Colliding galaxy clusters

December 5, 2016

Galaxy clusters contain a few to thousands of galaxies and are the largest bound structures in the universe. Most galaxies are members of a cluster. Our Milky Way, for example, is a member of the "Local Group," a set of about ...

ALMA measures size of seeds of planets

December 5, 2016

Researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have for the first time, achieved a precise size measurement of small dust particles around a young star through radio-wave polarization. ALMA's high ...

Bethlehem star may not be a star after all

December 2, 2016

It is the nature of astronomers and astrophysicists to look up at the stars with wonder, searching for answers to the still-unsolved mysteries of the universe. The Star of Bethlehem, and its origin, has been one of those ...

Swiss firm acquires Mars One private project

December 2, 2016

A British-Dutch project aiming to send an unmanned mission to Mars by 2018 announced Friday that the shareholders of a Swiss financial services company have agreed a takeover bid.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.