The equipment has officially obtained a "driving license".
Chief design engineer of the rover, Rich Rieber confirmed that the equipment seamlessly rolled back and forth over the small ramps in the laboratory – the rover also turned in place and positioned itself according to the wishes of the engineers. Further vehicle tests will take place elsewhere: namely on the very surface of Mars, in which direction the rover will be launched in 2020. Tests carried out by NASA have unequivocally proved that the equipment design can operate under its own weight and on an autonomous basis.
The rover's mission to Mars is expected to start in July or August 2020 – the landing is scheduled for 2021. The mission objective includes searching the planet for signs of microbiological life. Scientists also want to learn more about the climate and geology of Mars and collect research samples that will be used to better understand the environment of the Red Planet. Also in context future manned missions.
Martian rover was equipped with six super-durable wheels and a special suspension system, which will make it easier to overcome the rocky surface of the planet. The design is also intended to allow for tilting 45 degrees without falling over. Within 24 hours, the vehicle will be able to cover about 200 meters – this is quite a good result.
Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little longer before we receive the first information forwarded by the rover to the surface of our planet. However, everything is on track to make NASA's mission go as planned.