A little corner of ESA's technical heart that is forever Mars: this rubble-strewn model of the Red Planet is used to put prototype planetary rovers through their paces. Officially known as the Automation & Planetary Robotics Lab, its nickname is the 'Mars Yard'.
Dutch students explore this alien environment in the photo shown here, part of a series taken by image gallery TechniekBeeldbank.nu. The site offers the media positive images of engineering to appeal to young people.
The Mars Yard is housed in ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in the Agency's Automation & Robotics Section.
An 8 x 8 m square filled with sand and different sizes of gravel and rocks, the Mars Yard offers a small crater, a boulder field, a sandy dune and a gravel slope area.
This martian testbed serves to assess rover locomotion and navigation as well as the positioning of robotic arms – then check how all these elements operate together in practice, as integration is a major challenge in space robotic systems.
Specialised equipment for precisely recording the robots' performance includes motion-tracking infrared cameras.
Simulating Mars on Earth (2013, July 5)
retrieved 19 November 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Your feedback will go directly to Science X editors.
E-mail the story
Simulating Mars on Earth