Longueuil, QC – The Canadian Space Agency says it has awarded a contract valued at $6 million to MDA to develop a terrestrial prototype of a science rover for Mars exploration.
MDA will design, build and test a semi-autonomous rover prototype that can be commanded from a remote location. The rover will be equipped with vision systems and detectors for navigation and will provide the interfaces for hosting a small robotic arm and upcoming sciences and payloads. It will be ready for field testing in 2012.
Prototypes like the Mars exploration and science rover are used to demonstrate end-to-end operations of rovers and their payloads in realistic terrestrial field tests, reproducing key conditions of space missions. The technologies developed for the rover could also have several Earth-based applications in areas like the mining, transportation and security industries.