Tagged With rovers

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While we wait for a manned mission to Mars, we may as well figure out how astronauts will get around on the barren red planet. Maybe it'll be jetpacks. Or scooters. Or buggies. Or... we could skip all that and just go with a big, honking interplanetary rover that wouldn't look out of place in a sci-fi video game or the Bat cave.

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Alien: Covenant has a lot of far-flung futurist tech in it, which will inevitably be smeared in bits of the cast by the time the xenomorphs are done with them. But one piece in the movie is actually a bit of present-day technology: A small Rover provided by Audi that the manufacturer actually plans to send to the Moon once its Hollywood career has taken off.

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After spending all that time, money and effort delivering a crew of astronauts millions of miles through space to some distant celestial body, do we really expect them to trundle around like a pack of schmucks once they get there? Not a chance. That's why NASA's next explorers will roll deep in the Space Exploration Vehicle.

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Moving people and supplies across the Great White South is treacherous, difficult and expensive, with logistical costs constituting as much as 90 per cent of an expedition's budget — about $US125,000 a trip on average. And that's assuming the convoy isn't swallowed by an ice crevasse en route. This new radar-equipped rover could help the National Science Foundation save lives and millions of dollars a year on such expeditions.

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After spending roughly $US2.5 billion to build the Curiosity rover and deliver it to Mars, there's no way NASA would let something as trivial as a mechanical breakdown or software glitch stop its journey — not when we could just send up a repair-bot to fix it.

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Watch as Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke have a blast driving the lunar rover around the moon. According to NASA, the 16mm film became known as the "lunar rover Grand Prix".