Three generations of rovers with crouching engineers

January 20, 2012
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two spacecraft engineers join a grouping of vehicles providing a comparison of three generations of Mars rovers developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The setting is JPL's Mars Yard testing area.

Front and center is the flight spare for the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 as part of the Mars Pathfinder Project. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover Project test rover that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a Mars Science Laboratory the size of that project's Mars rover, Curiosity, which is on course for landing on Mars in August 2012.

Sojourner and its flight spare, named Marie Curie, are 2 feet (65 centimeters) long. The Project's rover, including the "Surface System Test Bed" rover in this photo, are 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) long. The Mars Project's Curiosity rover and "Vehicle System Test Bed" rover, on the right, are 10 feet (3 meters) long.

The engineers are JPL's Matt Robinson, left, and Wesley Kuykendall. The California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, operates JPL for NASA.

Explore further: Next Mars rover nears completion

Related Stories

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.

New animation depicts next Mars rover in action

June 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will not leave Earth until late this year nor land on Mars until August 2012, anyone can watch those dramatic events now in a new animation of the mission.

Recommended for you

Video: A colorful 'landing' on Pluto

January 20, 2017

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

Image: Wavemaker moon Daphnis

January 20, 2017

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small ...

The evolution of massive galaxy clusters

January 20, 2017

Galaxy clusters have long been recognized as important laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. The advent of the new generation of millimeter and submillimeter wave survey telescopes, like the South ...

0 comments

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.