While scientists are eagerly studying first pictures of Mars taken by the Mariner 9 Spacecraft work is already going ahead to pave the way for the first unmanned exploration of the red planet -- tentatively scheduled for 1980.
GV Rover showing manoeuvrability
MV & STV Rover operated on back wheels only with front wheels in air (2 shots)
SV Rover extracting itself from obstacle (3 shots)
MV & SV Rover climbing over obstacle (4 shots)
Initials SGM/0037 SGM/0025
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: While scientists are eagerly studying first pictures of Mars taken by the Mariner 9 Spacecraft work is already going ahead to pave the way for the first unmanned exploration of the red planet -- tentatively scheduled for 1980. At Troy, New York State, tests are currently underway on an unmanned Mars roving vehicle with may be exploring the surface of the planet ten years from now.
Unlike the lunar rovers which it resembles, the Mariner Rover will have to operate on its own. Radio signals from earth to Mars and back take about 15 minutes so the highly manoeuvrable vehicle will have to be able to navigate for itself.
SYNOPSIS: This is the Mariner Roving Vehicle, model 1980. By that year, the United States hopes to have its first unmanned roving vehicle exploring Mars. The vehicle, currently undergoing tests in New York State, can perform some unique manoeuvres to get itself out of tight spots. This it does by shifting its whole centre of gravity.
The tests have been given renewed impetus at the moment by the pictures of Mars being transmitted by the Mariner-Nine spacecraft. Whatever obstacles the martin surface presents, the Mariner Rover will be able to handle them. It can turn on a pinhead, climb steep slopes, pivot in any direction and is powered by a four-wheel drive. But unlike the manned lunar rovers, the Mariner vehicle will have to do some thinking of its own. Radio signals from earth to Mars and back take about fifteen minutes, so there are times when the machine will have to use its own on-board navigation logic.