Mars rover

A Mars rover is an automated motor vehicle that propels itself across the surface of the planet Mars upon arrival. Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, and they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months, and they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control.

There have been four successful robotically operated Mars rovers. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed the Mars Pathfinder mission and its now inactive Sojourner rover thermos sports bottle. It currently manages the Mars Exploration Rover mission’s active Opportunity rover and inactive Spirit, and, as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, the Curiosity rover. On January 24, 2016 NASA reported that current studies on the planet Mars by the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers will now be searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic, and/or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable. The search for evidence of habitability water bottle best, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on the planet Mars is now a primary NASA objective.

Several rovers have been sent to Mars:

Mars rovers in development include:

One experimental design, not proposed for any actual mission, is:

Many Mars Design Reference Mission include rovers as do some Mars sample return (see MAX-C)

NASA distinguishes between “mission” objectives and “science” objectives. Mission objectives are related to progress in space technology and development processes. Science objectives are met by the instruments during their mission in space.

The details of rover science vary according to equipment carried. The primary goal of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers is to discover “the history of water on Mars”. (The presence of usable water would greatly reduce manned mission cost Paul Frank T-shirts Men.)

The four science goals of NASA’s long-term Mars Exploration Program are:

Sojourner rover on Mars.

Sojourner rover atop Pathfinder lander.

Comparison: Mars Sojourner rover, MER, MSL.

Comparison: MER, Sojourner rover, MSL.

Comparison: MER, Sojourner rover, MSL.

Concept: Manned Mars rover.

Martian sunset viewed by the Spirit rover (May 2005).