Future Mars explorers may have a sharp, badass-looking ride for tooling around the Red Planet.
A working mockup of a potential Mars rover, commissioned by the Kennedy Space Center’s visitor center, is a far cry from the golf cart-like machines that Apollo astronauts drove around the moon. The new rover concept looks more like a Batmobile, and is about the size of a small camper, topped with solar panels and outfitted with six 50-inch, open-framed wheels that are designed for maximum traction in the sands of Mars.
As a concept car, this model is never going into space. But it was built to the specs of what a Mars expedition might need, explained retired astronaut Jon McBride, who is on tour with the vehicle.
“We sat down about a year ago and discussed the parameters and requirements for what we thought this thing was going to look and feel like, and this is what we came up with,” McBride said. “They designed it and built it in less than a year.”
The rover is being shown off as part of the center’s “Summer of Mars” program, which aims to encourage public interest in a future landing. It was built by Parker Brothers Concepts, a custom auto designer located near the space center in Port Canaveral, Florida, with input from NASA engineers.