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Click above for a gallery of the Small Pressurized Rover

This week in Arizona, NASA conducted tests of the new battery-powered Small Pressurized Rover (SPR) it hopes to use when the U.S. sends astronauts back to the moon by 2020. The SPR is a huge leap forward over the original open-air (or is it open-vacuum?) rovers used by the Apollo astronauts. The configuration consists of a pressurized cabin mounted atop a modular chassis that can drive in any direction, thans to wheels that turn 360 degrees. The cockpit leads back to an area housing an airlock that the astronauts can use to transfer from one rover to another, from the rover to a apacecraft, or from a rover to a surface installation and vice-versa.

At the back of that compartment are two "suitports" that allow the astronauts to enter and exit their EVA (extra-vehicular activity) spacesuits without having to bring them into the vehicle itself. The suit backpacks lock into the ports and open up, allowing the wearer to climb out and work in the pressurized vehicle in normal clothing. Very, very cool stuff here. Since the rover is modular in nature, it can also operate as a non-pressurized vehicle, with all the operators in turrets wearing suits. Top speed is 10 km/h (around 6 mph), and the rover should enable astronauts to go on missions away from base for up to two weeks, covering up to 625 miles, according to Reuters. We've gallerized a pair of high-res images and NASA's fact sheet below, and the NASA Edge blog has more photos you might be interested in checking out.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Neutralfizzandpop @ Oct 25th 2008 4:08PM
      And in other news, everyone else involved in space exploration stopped and thought "we can make that for 100th of the price". Seriously, NASA is rubbish.

      --------------------------------

      The real rubbish is all the peckers who gained all their knowledge from us USA taxpayers funding for NASA and then you still are or were given all that came from it.
      For dudes like you it was the joystick and video games.

      I like the BS what china will do but I'll bet you we will be back on the moon long before they do.
      Your already SPACEd out so should not cost you a heck of a lot to do all we have in space.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Aw, come on! 2020 before we get to see another moon landing?!

      I would hope that we could at least reach Mars by then! Where's JFK when you need him?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The exploration of space and especially the manned missions are some of America's greatest achievements. The development of technology needed to achieve space flight is very important to the pace of technological development in general actually.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Those ARB airlockers are going to be a b.tch to use in the vacuum of space.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I say adapt a HUMMER H1. That will go over anything.

      Btw, all you America haters, I'm a left wing liberal Obama voting tree hugger.

      Screw you!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll take mine with 24th, and they better be spinning
      how fast does it go around the 'ring
      funny, isn't it
      • 6 Years Ago
      If we can even afford to launch a rocket by 2020.

      The way the US government is bankrupting the country, there won't be value left enough to pay for a space program, and they'll be taxing all the privateers out of any means to do so, either.

      Where did this come from, anyway? All of the sudden, NASA is just testing a moon rover... oh, yeah, BTW, we're going back up in 12 years.

      Never mind that the manned space program took less than ten the last time, and that was starting from nearly zero. We should be able to do it in WAY less than half the time now.

      It seems interesting, technologically, and I am all for exploration. But we are looking down the barrel of some serious economic problems, it isn't exactly the 1950s or early 1960s anymore.

      The source of our political and economic troubles is the same government who runs the space program, too. When are they going to figure out, that they can't pay for everything they want to buy? While they keep printing money for this stuff, we won't see the end of these economic problems.

      I can't do what the government is doing, by printing money. They shouldn't be able to do that, or deficit spend the way they are, if it is indeed right that I shouldn't be able to, either. If I accrue debt I can't pay, I go bankrupt, with all sorts of consequences. That will eventually catch up with them.

      Then we'll have hundreds of millions of dollars of space exploration equipment that we can't afford to use, when we should be expecting OUR government to be responsible.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Same place all those electric cars came from that Chrysler pulled out of it's ass when they heard money was being handed out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And in other news, everyone else involved in space exploration stopped and thought "we can make that for 100th of the price". Seriously, NASA is rubbish.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Further, Hubble isn't "busted" as you so eloquently state, fizz. It experienced an error in its data formatter, which, guess what, was built in the late 1980s. Yeah, it operated in space flawlessly for 18 years, and it finally bit the bullet.

        But what's this?

        Oh, there's a second side to the data formatter? A program can be sent up to the Hubble to flip the data formatter around and make it start working again? The Americans actually did something right? They thought ahead and figured out how to make something last?

        In all seriousness, though, the Hubble has discovered so many things in its 18 years you would be amazed. Yeah, it cost a lot of money, but no other country/organization has funded and launched a scientific project with the scope of the Hubble. The ISS pales in comparison, because its built modularly, with distributed computing and technical apparatus spread throughout the entire spacecraft.

        Also, nothing is cheap in space. I work in the defense industry, and I have experience in spacecraft design, and launching a payload into orbit is incredibly expensive. Even for small launches, with an extremely small payload, just the launch portion of the mission can cost $50 million+. That doesn't take into account design, manufacture, software development, IV&V, systems checkout, maintenance (once its in orbit), upkeep, degradation, and/or replacement.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I take from the use of the word 'rubbish' you are English. And you think NASA is "rubbish". Well...because the British moon-landing and deep-space probes and space-shuttles and Hubble telescopes are so much cheaper right?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Hubble is a joint NASA/ESA project FFS!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Now who's reading Wikipedia, tankd0g?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You`re right. When the Martian Manned Mission lands, the Americans should stick an `apology`notice onto the Beagle 2.

        Theres a hiking trail next to your house. Go take a walk on it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dan...thats a narrow way of looking at things. In that respect, they should stop the candidates from spending $65 on their campaigns each per month.

        The space program is all about continuing to advance our race, to achieve breakthroughs in all field of science...in fact some of the current CATSCAN tech is NASA developed I believe. The knowledge we gain of our surroundings helps everyone. If you wanna start cutting down on un-necessary spending, lets start with our militaries, frudulent and greedy bankers, corrupt politicans and a class system where 10% of the population owns 90% of the nation's wealth.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Sending people back to the moon is simply a stepping stone to larger goals, unless you consider spending all our time sitting on this rock whining at each other a noble effort. Sending robotics out is nice and all but you can only do so much with the engineering and experimentation. A human with a lab kit can get far more done on a much larger scale.

        As for Hubble being busted, I'd love to see the ESA design and launch a space based telescope on that size and scale that they can service in space over a 18 year life span. The fact it's finally degraded to it's current state is a testament to the engineering that went into it. If the ESA or any other space agency does manage such a thing, good for them, until then we're still on top of the pile in that respect (and many others).

        Please, leave the blind patriotism and US bashing to the idiots that want to sit here and waste their lives away in a cubicle. The rest of would like to get off this rock and explore something beyond a 500 mile orbit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Step-in space suits are Russian design.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, but I'd rather help out a fellow man than find out if there is remnants of bacteria on Mars. I think we should deal with our problems here first, then broaden our horizons. That's great that NASA developed the CATSCAN technology, maybe they should change to a medical research institute, in my opion that would be much more of a benefit to society. But why should we be more focused on space particles and marsian life, than starving kids, and people eating out of garbage dumps.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Try reading the rest of my post Dan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My question is why are we spending so much money on these space things, when all that money could be used to help people in dire need. I bet if we stopped wasting money in space and instead shifted our priorities we could abolish world poverty by 2020, instead of puting a man on the moon to do a couple of experiments, and then come back again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      did anyone really land ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hahah, even in space, small light roadsters have been replaced with SUVs!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lazy bastards. how hard can it be to move stuff around with gravity at 1.6m/s²?

      When the Chinese get to the moon they'll just be pulling it all around on carts. Much smarter solution.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This might be off topic, but why are we going to the Moon again?
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
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