NASA has unveiled a futuristic Mars rover protoype – which looks rather like Bruce Wayne’s Batmobile.
The new Mars rover concept vehicle was unveiled at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, with the aim of inspiring and educating a new generation of researchers.
NASA is continuing to develop its plans to journey to Mars by 2020.
The agency is planning on landing a robotic rover to search the planet for signs of past life and to collect samples which may one day be returned to Earth.
While its new protoype is designed more to excite and inspire its audience rather than suggest what the actual rover is going to look like, NASA’s subject matter experts did contribute towards that design.
The rover’s front-end will be equipped with scouting equipment, including radio and a satellite positioning system
An autonomous laboratory will be located on its detachable back side, from where the rover will drill into the planet’s surface and establish whether human settlers could ever travel to the planet in the future.
Currently, NASA’s Curiosity rover is exploring the Gale crater on Mars.
Photographs released by NASA last year show the continuance of the Curiosity mission as the rover explores Mount Sharp, a central peak of the Gale crater.
The Mars 2020 rover will be built in Curiosity’s image, with a number of scientific instruments proposed to be included.
While exact plans are dependent upon funding, it is expected to launch on an Atlas V rocket during the summer of 2020.
It will take between eight and nine months to cruise to Mars, and will land in the first quarter of 2021.