NASA has unveiled a concept of a Mars rover vehicle that is set to be launched to the Red Planet in 2020.
The flashy Mars 2020 rover, which some say resembles a vehicle from the Batman movie series, was unveiled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of its “Summer of Mars” event.
The rover runs on an electric motor that gets its power from solar panels feeding a 700-volt battery.
The rover can separate in the middle with the front focused on scouting and navigation. The rear section is a laboratory that can conduct a wide variety of research, including drilling to try to find evidence of past life on Mars as well as to ascertain whether Mars has water and oxygen that could one day be exploited by human astronauts. It could return core samples to Earth.
While this rover will not actually go to Mars, NASA says some of the components may make it onto the rover that is actually sent to the Martian surface.
Parker Brothers Concepts of Port Canaveral, Florida, built the 8.5 meter long rover incorporating input from NASA subject matter experts. It was commissioned without using taxpayer money, according to NASA.
After being exhibited in Florida, the concept rover will be displayed “at several locations” from July to August.
The “Summer of Mars” aims to provide an overview of NASA’s studies of the 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,” said Rebecca Shireman, assistant manager of public relations for the Kennedy visitor complex. “We hope this will encourage young people to want to learn more about being a part of the effort to go to Mars.”