0455 GMT May 23, 2019
The giant six-wheeled concept vehicle was unveiled at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, telegraph.co.uk wrote.
Made entirely of carbon fiber and aluminum, the electric and solar-powered truck is 8.5 meter long, four meter wide, and designed to accommodate four astronauts. It even has its own detachable laboratory for extraterrestrial fieldwork.
NASA already has two robot ‘rovers’ on Mars but the space agency has vowed to plant human colonies on the Red Planet by the 2030s and so is looking ahead to transportation needs.
The new rover was designed by US based Parker Brothers Concepts using specifications provided by NASA and will inform the design of future rovers.
The truck separates in the middle with the front area designed for scouting and equipped with a radio and navigation provided by GPS.
The back section serves as a laboratory which can disconnect entirely for autonomous research.
Designer Marc Parker, said that the rover could hit top speeds of up to 70 mph, but was built to overcome the rocky environment of Mars, and so is expected to trundle along at around 15 mph.
He said, “What we actually came up with was a dual-purpose vehicle. It actually separates in the middle.
“The rear section is a full lab, the front area is a cockpit for going out and doing scouting. The lab section can actually disconnect and be left on its own to do autonomous research.
“That way the scout vehicle can go out to do its thing without the fuel consumption and extra weight, then come back later.”
Its six wheels are 1.3 meter tall, 75 centimeter wide, and are designed with air ducts to let the red sands of Mars pass through.
The rover was built as part of an educational program to inspire the public about space exploration, but NASA saID it is keen to incorporate its design in future rovers.
Rebecca Shireman, assistant manager of public relations for NASA’s Kennedy Visitor Complex, said, “While this exact rover is not expected to operate on Mars, one or more of its elements could make its way into a rover astronauts will drive on the Red Planet.
“It's an all-encompassing effort to review the history of our efforts to explore Mars and look ahead to what is being planned.”