On October 19, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) introduced a fleet of rover prototypes intended for exploration missions on the Moon or Mars.
“Canada’s reputation for excellence has been carved out through decades of innovation and technological advances such as the iconic Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre,” said Minister of Industry Christian Paradis. “That legacy continues with the Next Generation Canadarm and these pioneer terrestrial rovers.”
The rovers stem from a 2009 project that committed $110 million over three years to advance robotics and space exploration technologies. NASA has already expressed interest in the rovers, which include small vehicles designed to work along side astronauts as well as large vehicles closer to the mini-Cooper sized Curiosity rover now on Mars. Some are so large that they could conceivably be used to transport astronauts. “In fact, we have an invitation right now from NASA to start working on advancing these technologies and taking them to flight for eventually a mission,” said CSA’s director-general of space exploration Gilles Leclerc. One of the prototypes has already been spun off into an electric powered recreational vehicle by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associated (MDA).
The rovers aren’t quite ready to head for the nearest planet, though. “The horizon we’re looking at in terms of taking the technologies on these terrestrial prototypes and transferring them into a real space mission to the moon or Mars is about 2020,” said Leclerc.
Take a look at some more rovers below:
See these and more rovers being tested in this CSA video: