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 thread  Author  Topic: Batman Lives!  (Read 42 times)
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« Thread started on: May 15th, 2017, 10:52am »

This is NOT the Mars Rover scheduled for 2020 launch. Rather, it is a concept that may be similar to those used for manned Mars' missions in the 2030's.

NASA has been quietly working on a Mars rover concept that looks like a Batmobile

Dave Mosher
May 11, 2017

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The visitor complex at NASA's Kennedy Space Center has quietly rolled out a six-wheeled Mars rover.
The vehicle was made by a concept car company and debuted in early May.
A major cable network is allegedly producing a TV show about the unnamed vehicle's design and construction.
Though it's a demonstration vehicle for educational use, it was created to be as realistic as possible.

A NASA spokesperson told Business Insider that the project "is not really a NASA-affiliated thing" and is run by its independently operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. (Representatives at the visitor complex did not immediately return our calls.)

However, Marc Parker said NASA introduced his company to engineers and scientists at Kennedy Space Center who are actively working on the space agency's goals of exploring Mars with astronauts.

According to Marc, NASA gave his company a few parameters for the vehicle and had two schools of thought for it: either a small scout vehicle "for four astronauts to investigate, explore, and get test samples" or a "full research laboratory".

The company started with an electric motor, solar panels, and a 700-volt battery and built the vehicle around that, Marc says, "since there's no gas stations up there" and decided to tackle both concepts at once.

"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," he says. "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."

While the cab is lined with earthly "creature comforts" such as GPS, air conditioning, and radio, Marc says the body is made entirely out of aircraft-grade aluminum and carbon-fiber to keep the weight down.

He says it hasn't been officially weighed, but estimated the rover which is 28 feet long, 13 feet wide, and 11 feet tall should come in at about 5,000 pounds.

"A Honda Civic weighs about 3,500 to 4,000 pounds, and a 5,000 pounds is about the weight of a pickup truck," he said, emphasizing that the concept vehicle is very light given its size and capabilities.

Marc says that while the rover could drive as fast as 60-70 mph, it's designed to roll along at 10-15 mph or less, since it'd be used to methodically roll over dunes, rocks, craters, hills, and more. He added that each wheel has an independent suspension to overcome such obstacles with ease.

Of all the projects that Marc says he and his brother have worked on, he said "this one has blown us away the most." He hopes it inspires NASA and the public alike to dream big about the future of space exploration.

"Movies are cool, TV is cool, but it's something else to be part of a thing that could inspire kids to go Mars and live in outer space," he says.

This story was updated to clarify the relationship between NASA and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

« Last Edit: May 15th, 2017, 10:53am by Swamprat » User IP Logged

"Let's see what's over there."
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