Mars is in everyone’s sights, with both NASA and SpaceX planning manned trips to the red planet in the next decade or so, so it makes sense that everyone is trying to come up with the best technology to help us survive our celestial neighbor’s harsh conditions. The rover that is currently exploring Mars’ surface is functional and fantastic, but not terribly sleek. It also wouldn’t help humans survive on the surface of the planet. The newest Mars manned rover concept has finally rolled off the assembly line and it’s every comic book fan’s wildest dream — it looks like a real life version of the Tumbler style Batmobile from the newer Batman movies.
Introducing — The Rover Concept
This rover is designed to carry 4 astronauts across the surface of Mars while protecting them from the harsh environment. The whole rover is 28 feet long and 13 feet wide, with 6 wheels that could theoretically reach top speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour on the red planet’s surface.
The whole rover is made of super lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum, and consists of two sections — the scout cabin in the front and a detachable laboratory in the rear of the rover. The whole rear section can be detached and left to do research while the scout section enables astronauts to explore the planet’s surface.
It’s also fully battery powered, relying on solar panels to keep the batteries charged.
Unfortunately, this Batman-inspired rover will never leave Earth.
Summer of Mars
The new rover was designed for NASA’s ‘Summer of Mars’ event. This nationwide tour was crafted to get both kids and adults excited about the upcoming Mars missions. It will include the new rover, as well as student activities and even an astronaut training experience at the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida.
The program is immersive, and in an effort to excite new potential astronauts at a young age, 5th grade students can enjoy a free ticket to the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex.
Braving the Harsh Conditions
Mars may be our closest celestial neighbor but it currently isn’t friendly to human life. Cold environments, high levels of carbon dioxide, and harsh dust storms are all detrimental to human survival on the red planet.
The dust storms were prominently features in Andy Weir’s movie and novel “The Martian” that focused on an astronaut who was stranded on the planet after one such storm. While the storm in the film was exaggerated to add to the drama of the scene, these dust storms do occur on a regular basis.
The biggest hazards these storms will likely create are problems with navigation and solar power — the storms could easily coat any solar panels in a layer of dust making it impossible for them to generate power for the duration of the storm.
There is also the concern of the global dust storms that seem to occur every 5 years or so, ringing the planet in storms from pole to pole, blocking out the sun for extended periods of time. These could be overcome with power storage batteries similar to the Tesla Home systems that are becoming more popular in areas where green energy is readily available.
Parker Brothers Concepts
The new Batmobile inspired rover concept, while inspired by NASA, comes from the minds of Parker Brothers Concepts. This pair of custom motorcycle and car parts builders has designed everything from the Neutron motorcycle inspired by the lightcycles in the movie Tron, to custom bolt-on pars for cars and motorcycles.
This rover isn’t actually affiliated with NASA, in spite of being used for the Summer of Mars program, and will probably never make its way to the red planet. While the concept could easily be used on Mars, its true goal is to inspire young astronauts to want to live and work on the red planet.
With SpaceX’s bi-monthly satellite and supply launches, and the move toward Mars and beyond, for the first time since the Shuttle program ended in 2011, everyone’s eyes seem fixated on the stars. Whether we get to Mars in the 2020’s like Elon Musk is planning or in the 2030’s with NASA, both companies have succeeded at reigniting our love for space and our desire to finally set foot out in the universe.