Design Knowledge Intermediary
Nasa unveil new design for 'Mars rover' vehicle

Nasa are planning to send humans to Mars by 2030, and they say that this 'Mars rover' is the kind of thing they might drive around in when they're there. It's a 'concept vehicle' which means it's just an idea at the moment, but it's been specifically designed for Nasa's needs on Mars, and so some of the ideas in its design could be used on the actual rover driven by astronauts in 2030.

ENGINE: Unlike most cars on Earth, this rover has an electric motor with a 700 volt battery, powered by solar panels which get their energy from the sun.

WHEELS: There aren't ready-made roads on Mars, so this vehicle needs to be able to be able to handle sand and rocks. It has 6 wheels designed for just that - they're big enough to get over large rocks, and have a large surface area to stop them sinking into sand.

LAYOUT: The rover can fit 4 astronauts and it's not just for riding in. The designers wanted their vehicle to work both for exploration and experiments, so they decided to split it in two! The back half has a laboratory so that astronauts can conduct experiments, while the front can break away for scouting trips. It's equipped with a radio and navigation, ready for exploring the Red Planet!

- www.bbc.co.uk