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Life-size NASA Perseverance rover snow sculpture brings Mars to Earth

It's cold on Mars, and it's cold in Iowa.

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NASA/JPL solar system ambassador Mark A. Brown created quite a conversation piece with this life-size Perseverance Mars rover snow sculpture.

Mark A. Brown

When it snows, you might look out on the wintry landscape and think about making a snowperson with a carrot nose. Mark A. Brown, a solar system ambassador for NASA/JPL, looked out on the remains of a snow storm in Iowa and decided to craft a life-size frozen Perseverance Mars rover.

Brown spent three days building the rover, which sports wheels decorated with silver metallic spray paint and a mastcam (the rover's camera-equipped "head") made from PVC pipe and a cardboard box. 

The snow rover bears a remarkable resemblance to the real deal, which is en route to Mars with a scheduled landing on Feb. 18. "The plan was to attempt to create as close a likeness in size ... and I had enough snow to do it," Brown told CNET.  

Snow rover builder Mark A. Brown made sure to include the Mars helicopter Ingenuity as part of the installation.

Mark A. Brown

Perseverance isn't traveling alone. It carries a helicopter named Ingenuity in its belly. The experimental chopper will attempt a powered flight on the red planet. Brown made sure to pay tribute to Ingenuity with a bonus model of the helicopter sitting next to the rover.

The frosty rover was a creative way for Brown to engage in pubic outreach with only a month to go until Perseverance's big arrival. 

"I wanted to do something unique and educational for my neighborhood," said Brown. "Many people take daily walks, and so as they did so they were able to look at this sculpture taking place and to ask about it."

The snow rover might be almost as rugged as its space-faring counterpart. Brown shared a video of some wicked winds whipping the sculpture on Tuesday. 

Like the real rover, this one is persevering. 

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