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PRoViScout: ESA and NASA Develop an Independent Mars Exploration System

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ESA ExoMars Rover

Artists impression of ESAs ExoMars Rover beginning its exploration of the Martian surface.

European Space Agency

Researchers from across Europe—with a little help from experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory—are working on a new, robotic exploration system that could enable future Mars rovers to independently explore the planet's surface, identifying geological and biological samples and performing their own terrain hazard analysis.

Scientists hope that by enabling robotic explorers to autonomously scout their landscape for potential dangers and areas of interest, the PRoViScout system will overcome one of the primary obstacles to efficient robotic exploration of Mars—the time lag involved in sending and receiving messages to and from bots on the Martian surface.

If successful, PRoViScout will enhance rovers' mission-planning intelligence, dictating how resources should be deployed at any given time. Visual sensors, including cameras and a unique laser-fluorescence life-detection system that uses next generation Blu-ray technology will identify potential samples and hazards.

From Wired
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