If you want to test a new rover for a mission on the red planet you’ve got two options. One would be to spend billions and fire your creation through space to Mars and put it straight to work, alternatively you can spend £500,000 and build a massive “Mars Yard” just outside London.
Engineers at Airbus Defence and Space in the UK have opted to build their own Mars as a testing ground for new Mars bound technology. It features 300 tons of sand that have been colour matched from the readings taken by NASA’s rovers, and even the light levels inside the testing ground have been set to mimic those of the red planet.
With ESA’s ExoMars program preparing to send two missions, the first to test if Mars could ever have supported life and another which will attempt to return samples from the planet in 2020.
With Mars bound missions have a high failure rate we hope this new testing ground proves useful in making these two missions a success. Unfortunately the first rover won’t touch down until 2019, so it looks like we’ll have to be patient to find out.
Thank you CNN for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of CNN.