NASA unveiled its next-generation Mars rover, which is all set to make its way to the Red Planet in 2020. The space agency is now poised to show off a prototype for the future manned Mars rover at the Kennedy Space Center.
Noted Hollywood prop makers designed and developed the futuristic-looking rover, which will ferry the first humans to Mars.
Hollywood Prop Designers Making Mars Rover
The Mars rover’s design and concept is the brainchild of two brothers — Shanon Parker and Marc Parker — who are best known for designing the futuristic-looking motorcycles in the movie “Tron.”
The Mars rover prototype from the Parker Brothers Concepts has six giant wheels and is 11 feet tall, 13 feet wide, and 28 feet long (with the laboratory attached). The Mars rover concept weighs roughly 5,000 pounds. Shanon conceptualized the vehicle’s design, whereas Marc and his team built it from ground-up in just five months.
“We built the body, the chassis, the suspension, the wheels, the frame, the interior, the seats, the glass — everything on this vehicle had to be built completely from scratch,” Marc explained.
Shanon revealed that while working on the design, he concentrated both on the aesthetics, as well as the utilities. He said he put in some things just to make the vehicle look cool, but also retained important features which the rover would need to function properly on Mars’ surface.
Mars Rover Concept: Design And Features
The future manned Mars rover concept features four seats and also a small laboratory, which can be used to conduct limited analysis on-the-go. These aspects were specifically created keeping Martian world exploration in mind.
Even the wheels of the Mars rover prototype were created after a lot of consideration. For instance, the designers took into account the Martian terrain’s nature. The Red Planet’s surface is mainly covered with sand, but rocky mountainous regions are also common.
This is why the Mars rover’s wheels were designed with very high surface area, so that the giant vehicle does not get stuck in the sand and at the same time, is able to climb the rocky terrain easily. The wheels’ surface also have vein-like formations so that sand and dirt do not get stuck.
However, the Mars rover built by the Parker Brothers Concepts will not be making its journey to the Red Planet. Instead, it will be used to educate astronauts and scientists on Earth about Mars, its terrain, and the various challenges that NASA faces while sending humans to the Red Planet.
The exhibition of the Mars rover prototype starts June 5 in the “Journey to Mars” exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center. The vehicle will be unveiled at 2.15 p.m. at the Rocket Garden, giving visitors the first glimpse of the Mars rover concept.