Edible Mars Rover
In 1997, NASA used small robotic vehicles to explore Mars. The Sojourner rover was able to roll around the surface of Mars recording data about rocks at the landing site and taking close-up pictures of Martian surface features. The Sojourner rover never traveled more that a few tens of meters away from the Pathfinder lander. A new, larger rover is being developed for a possible Mars sample return mission. This long-range rover will help to kick-off a new era of exploration of the Red Planet. The long-range rovers will be collecting Mars rocks and soil to be returned to Earth. A prototype of this rover is called FIDO (Field Integrated Design and Operations). FIDO is being tested on Earth first. High school and middle school students were part of the FIDO team that helped to run the field tests in the Mojave Desert during the spring of 1999 and 2000. This activity will help to familiarize students with planetary rovers.