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those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER
I was wondering if there were any plans to build rovers that would actually excavate under the crust of the Martian surface?
St. Louis University High School
That is a very interesting question. By excavation I think you mean basically just digging down seeing what's below. One of the things that the science team approached us with was what capabilities would we have even with the existing MER rover. We did experiments which showed that we could use the wheels to trench. And so we've actually used this rover, even though it wasn't its primary purpose, we've used the rover's front wheels to dig ourselves trenches that are as much as ten centimeters deep, which is about four inches. And so getting below the depth is a very crucial thing for the scientists to help understand Mars is covered with dust. What's below that? So as we build bigger rovers we would naturally have that ability increased.
Lead Mechanical Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory