How NASA’s Mars Helicopter Will Reach the Red Planet’s Surface

In this video clip, an engineer observes as a test of the Mars Helicopter Delivery System at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver on April 2019. (Credits: Lockheed Martin Space)

The small craft will seek to prove that powered, controlled flight is possible on another planet. But just getting it onto the surface of Mars will take a whole lot of ingenuity.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will travel with the Perseverance rover through 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) of interplanetary space to get to Mars. But for the team working on the first experimental flight test on another planet, engineering the final 5 inches (13 centimeters) of the journey has been among the most challenging of all. To safely navigate those 5 inches — the distance Ingenuity will travel from where it’s stowed on the rover to the surface of Mars — they came up with the ingenious Mars Helicopter Delivery System.


Small Robots Practice Scouting Skills for Future Moon Mission

A shoebox-sized wheeled robot explores the rugged terrain on the surface of the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during recent tests of the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) project. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The newest edition of NASA’s small, foldable robots recently practiced their scouting skills and successfully traversed rugged terrain in the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.


CubeRover to Develop Next Generation Planetary Rovers in Luxembourg

CubeRover on the lunar surface. (Credit: CubeRover)

CubeRover Platform to Revolutionize Lunar Access and Capability for Companies, Governments, Universities, and Non-Profits

LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg, September 27, 2018 (CubeRover PR) — CubeRover SARL (CubeRover) and Luxembourg announce today the agreement for the development of next-generation planetary rovers in Luxembourg.

This historic agreement marks the establishment of CubeRover’s operations in the Grand Duchy as a spin out organization from Astrobotic Technology, Inc. (Astrobotic), a space robotics company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Long-Lived Mars Rover Opportunity Keeps Finding Surprises

Textured rows on the ground in this portion of “Perseverance Valley” are under investigation by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which used its Navigation Camera to take the component images of this downhill-looking scene. The rover reaches its 5,000th Martian day, or sol, on Feb. 16, 2018. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity keeps providing surprises about the Red Planet, most recently with observations of possible “rock stripes.”

The ground texture seen in recent images from the rover resembles a smudged version of very distinctive stone stripes on some mountain slopes on Earth that result from repeated cycles of freezing and thawing of wet soil. But it might also be due to wind, downhill transport, other processes or a combination.


Opportunity Hits 5,000 Days on Mars

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded the dawn of the rover’s 4,999th Martian day, or sol, with its Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on Feb. 15, 2018, yielding this processed, approximately true-color scene. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ./Texas A&M)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The Sun rose on NASA’s solar-powered Mars rover Opportunity for the 5,000th time on Saturday, sending rays of energy to a golf-cart-size robotic field geologist that continues to provide revelations about the Red Planet.


NASA Tests Pop-up PUFFER Rover in Mojave Desert

The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)
The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)

By Denise M. Stefula

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots technology, or PUFFER, is readying a prototype for field testing in Southern California’s Mojave Desert through this summer and into the fall.


NASA Working on the Coolest Spacecraft/Rover Hybrids You’ve Ever Seen

Video Caption: What’s the best way to explore comets and asteroids? Spacecraft? Rovers?

The answer may be a bit both — a spacecraft/rover hybrid.

Exploring small bodies like comets and asteroids could shed light on the origin and evolution of the solar system and even the origin of life on our planet.

Watch as Marco Pavone, Stanford University, and Ben Hockman, student, Stanford University, discuss their NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) for spacecraft/rover hybrids.

This video was developed from a live recording at the 2015 NIAC Fall Symposium in October, 2015. To watch the full original talk please visit:

To learn more about NIAC visit:

NASA’s Resource Prospector Prototype Takes Initial Test Drive

The rover perches atop “Mount Kosmo” rock yard at Johnson during its first test drive. (Credit: NASA)
The rover perches atop “Mount Kosmo” rock yard at Johnson during its first test drive. (Credit: NASA)

By Denise M. Stefula

The Human Robotic Systems’ (HRS) rover technologies element that supports Advanced Exploration System’s Resource Prospector (RP) Mission, RP15, successfully demonstrated mobility during initial testing on August 5 at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.


Tethers Unlimited Selected for 3 SBIR Phase I Awards

Tethers_Unlimited_LogoNASA has selected Tethers Unlimited, Inc., (TUI) for three Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards for materials that can be recycled on the International Space Station (ISS), an anchoring system that would allow rovers to explore rough terrain on other worlds, and a gimbal that would assist balloons in exploring the atmospheres of Venus and Titan.

Now that there is a 3D printer on the station, TUI is interested in developing cargo ship packing materials that can be easily recycled into feed stock for the printer.

“TUI proposes to develop Customizable Recyclable International Space Station Packaging (CRISSP), which is a set of materials, formats, and design methodologies optimized both for (1) the economic and mechanical requirements for ISS supplies packaging and (2) being efficiently recyclable onboard the ISS into high performance 3D printer feedstock,” the proposal states. “A range of packaging formats will be evaluated for use, including common bubble-wrap, foams, folded and thermoformed shells, and parametric cellular additively-manufactured boxes that can be readily optimized for specific payloads and launch environments.”


PISCES Gets Rover, High-Power Optical Laser

Ontario Drive Gear rover (Credit: PISCES)
Ontario Drive Gear rover (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is just a few weeks away from having its very own robotic spacecraft! As of this writing, a rover is at Ontario Drive Gear (ODG), packed in a crate and ready to make its trek to the Big Island of Hawaii.

Thanks to our partnership with ODG, PISCES is able to use the rover via an extended loan agreement.


ISS Astronaut Remotely Controls Rover on Earth in Preparation for Lunar Exploration

The K10 rover on NASA's Roverscape in California. The robot has just been manipulated by an astronaut in space to roll out an antenna film that CU-Boulder researchers would like to deploy on the far side of the moon. (Credit: Jack Burns)
The K10 rover on NASA’s Roverscape in California. The robot has just been manipulated by an astronaut in space to roll out an antenna film that CU-Boulder researchers would like to deploy on the far side of the moon. (Credit: Jack Burns)

BOULDER, Colo. (UC Boulder PR) — An astronaut orbiting Earth in the International Space Station has remotely directed a NASA rover in California to unfurl an “antenna film” that scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder are developing for use on the unexplored far side of the moon.

When astronaut Chris Cassidy used a Space Station computer to pilot the robot across a mock lunar surface at NASA’s Ames Research Center on June 17, he demonstrated for the first time that an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft could successfully control a robot in real time on a planetary surface. The technique could have future applications for humans visiting Mars, an asteroid or the moon.


Astrobotic Leads NASA Study to Keep Planetary Rovers Driving

PITTSBURGH, PA – FEB 11, 2013 (Astrobotic PR) — 
William “Red” Whittaker, CEO, and Kevin Peterson, Director of Guidance, Navigation, and Control will lead a NASA-funded study to figure out how robots, such as the Mars rover Curiosity, can avoid becoming stuck by sinking in loose sand or similarly hard to distinguish terrain hazards.


Canadian Rovers on the Move

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), together with Steve MacLean, President of the CSA, celebrated Canada’s legacy in space by highlighting another milestone in CSA’s robotics work on rovers. These terrestrial rovers are bringing CSA one step closer to developing the next generation of rovers for space exploration. The rovers performed robotic demonstrations at the CSA’s analogue testing terrain, the largest of its kind in the world, which replicates the surface of 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 Paradis. “That legacy continues with the Next Generation Canadarm and these pioneer terrestrial rovers.”


NASA and the Cleantech Open Partner in Night Rover Robotics Challenge

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected The Cleantech Open of Redwood, Calif., to manage the agency’s Night Rover Challenge that will culminate in a competition in fall 2012. The event is a new Centennial Challenges prize competition seeking revolutionary energy storage technologies for future space robotic rover missions. NASA is offering a prize purse of $1.5 million to challenge winners.

The Night Rover Challenge is to demonstrate solar energy collection and storage systems suitable for rovers to operate through several cycles of daylight and darkness. During daylight, systems can collect photons or thermal energy from the sun. During darkness, the stored energy would be used to move the rover toward a destination and to continue its exploration work.


Canadians Redesign Tires for Use on Lunar Rovers

iRings lunar wheels undergo testing. Photo: Brad Jones/Neptec Design Group

McGill University Press Release

Creating a wheel for some of the worst potholes known to humankind is just one of the extraterrestrial challenges a team of McGill students and professors face in developing and testing a wheel prototype for the new Lunar Exploration Light Rover (LELR).

The new Canadian rover will be used during lunar exploration to carry payloads, cargo and crew, as well as enable drilling and excavation, manipulator and tool integration, and vision and state-of-the-art communications systems.