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Image: Mars terrain recreation at ESA
A downward view of ESA's rock-strewn recreation of the Red Planet, is designed to put prototype planetary rovers through their paces.
Officially part of the Planetary Robotics Laboratory at the Agency's ESTEC technical center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the nickname of this test site is the "Mars Yard."
An 9 x 9 m square filled with sand and different types of gravel and rocks, it is used to assess rover locomotion and navigation as well as the traction of wheels and other mechanisms. Then researchers can check how these elements work together in practice, with tests observed using precision cameras and sensors.
The Planetary Robotics Lab is part of a suite of more than 35 ESA laboratories focused on all aspects of space engineering, available to wider European Member States companies as well as ESA projects.
Provided by European Space Agency