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.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dry run for the 2020 Mars mission

Jun 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 ...

NASA rover launch to Mars delayed to Nov 26

Nov 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

Apr 07, 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

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

1 hour ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

6 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

7 hours ago

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled ...

User comments : 1

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.

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.