We might be more than a decade away from putting humans on Mars, but NASA's Mars rover concept looks ready to hit the dirt tomorrow.
NASA unveiled its latest concept at the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. It will hang out in Florida for a month or so, and after that, it's going on a tour of the east coast. That's plenty fine, considering we're not leaving for Mars tomorrow or anything.
NASA's rover concept doesn't just look big, it is big, measuring some 28 feet long, 14 feet wide and 11 feet tall. Its wheels are built for off-roading, but as you can tell, they're not your average pressurized Michelins -- a blowout in the middle of the Martian desert would be a bit more catastrophic than on a standard car.
This rover is meant for more than just ferrying astronauts across Mars. It can also be used as a mobile laboratory, presumably in the search to learn more about the Red Planet's mysterious past. As one would expect, the rover is outfitted with life support, navigation and communications systems, because losing your way on Mars is a bit worse than getting lost in Chicago. There won't be anyone to ask for directions, at the least.
It may look like something out of Hollywood, and that's for good reason. The two folks charged with building this concept come from the land of the silver screen, designing movie props including the light cycles from "Tron." What's most impressive, perhaps, is that this concept only took five months to build. If only the Mars missions were that easy to put together.