The sound of a rover riding over a jagged Martian rock is similar to the racket of slowly crunching soda cans. How do we know? NASA engineers have rolled wheels across terrains similar to those that have been found on Mars.
At NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, engineers have constructed an elaborate arena called the Mars Yard, a 21 by 22 meter sand lot filled with obstacles that simulate the Red Planet. This is all to test what makes the rover on the Mars2020 mission physically rove: the wheels.
JPL engineers Patrick DeGrosse and Chris Salvo are working to create rover wheels that can endure the diverse range of terrain on the Red Planet. SciFri visited JPL and witnessed the sights and sounds of rover wheel destruction. Learn more here.
[Pictures by Xochitl Garcia]
NASA is reinventing the wheel for Mars! -Emily