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Canada prototypes lunar, planetary vehicles (pictures)

The Canadian Space Agency shows off small and large space rovers designed to scout locations on Mars or transport astronauts on the moon. Check out these otherworldly wheels.

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Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
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Martian chronicles

The Mars Exploration Science Rover is one of several new prototype rovers recently shown off by the Canadian Space Agency. They could be on missions to the moon or Mars by 2020.

Designed to work as a geologist on the Red Planet, it has six wheels, solar panels, a microscope and a coring device. It could help return mineral samples to Earth.

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Artemis

Artemis is a prototype for a four-wheel-drive lunar rover that can be operated remotely or drive around itself. It has solar panels and a battery that can power a full day of operations; its science equipment payload is 330 pounds.
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3 of 7 Canadian Space Agency

Moon buggy redux

The Lunar Exploration Light Rover is designed to tool around the moon as both a science lab and an astronaut transporter. It has a top speed of 9.3 mph and can be fitted with a robot arm to scoop up samples for analysis.
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Juno

Juno is a family of smaller rovers designed to haul scientific instruments around the moon. They can roll around on three types of wheels or on tracks. Recently upgraded for increased capacity, they have undergone field tests with NASA on a volcano to simulate moon missions.
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5 of 7 Canadian Space Agency

Kapvik

Kapvik, or "wolverine" in Innu, is a micro-rover that can act like a scout -- getting lowered by larger rovers down slopes of up to 65 degrees, for instance. With its robotic mast and end effector, it can also be used to explore caves or crevices, or help astronauts dig. It can operate autonomously or by remote control.
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Micro-Rover Platform with Tooling Arm

This small rover weighs only 66 pounds. It can lower or raise its center of gravity to better tackle rocky terrain. Its tooling arm can be used to gather samples or perform science experiments.
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SL-Commander

Listed as a rover spinoff innovation by the CSA, the SL-Commander is an ATV with a 440-pound payload. It was developed by snowmobile maker Bombardier Recreational Products as an all-electric autonomous vehicle. It can drive itself with or without humans aboard.

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