Mars Car: Manned Mars Rover Concept Debuts at Kennedy Space Center

Mars Rover Concept

NASA wants to send humans to Mars by 2030, marking the first time the American space agency will send a manned mission to another celestial body since the Apollo 17 moon mission in 1972. During that final lunar mission, astronauts rode in a rudimentary 10.2-foot-long rover that had a modest payload of just 1080 pounds. Fortunately, the first humans to set foot on the red planet likely will have a much improved vehicle for Martian exploration, if the six-wheeled concept rover that debuted at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is anything to go by.

The concept was built by the Florida-based Parker Brothers Concepts, a vehicle design studio headed by Marc and Shanon Parker, and is nearly three times as long as the original lunar rover. At some 28 feet long and 11 feet high, the Mars rover concept boasts an enclosed cockpit and a mobile lab for completing quick analyses of Martian finds. Although NASA did not commission the Mars rover concept, the vehicle does represent what a possible land-going vehicle for a manned Martian mission could look like.

Mars Rover Concept

For its part, NASA is already working on a manned rover called the Space Exploration Vehicle concept, or SEV. Like the Parker Brothers’ Mars rover concept, SEV contains an enclosed cabin for maneuvering the vehicle and conducting missions. Additionally, the SEV includes a dozen wheels that pivot and allow it to crab-walk around alien terrain. Additional features include a docking hatch and suitports designed for easy entry into a spacesuit.

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While a manned mission to Mars is still more than a decade away, fans of the red planet can get a look at the Parker Brothers’ Mars rover concept as part of the Kennedy Space Center’s Summer of Mars program. The rover also will be touring the country throughout the summer, with stops planned in Georgia, D.C., New Jersey, and New York.

Mars-Rover-Concept-REEL


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