Each year, automakers around the world release futuristic concept cars that force us to reconsider our notion of what a vehicle is, both in terms of looks and functionality. Now, one company is doing the same thing, but instead of reinventing the sedan or pickup truck, they’ve offered their take on a Mars rover.
Through a partnership with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Parker Brothers Concepts has built a six-wheeled, all-electric rover designed specifically to meet the challenges of exploring the surface of Mars. The estimated weight of the vehicle is 5,000 pounds, and it’s a staggering 28 feet long, so you definitely wouldn’t see it rolling down a highway here on Earth. Although it does reportedly have a max speed of 96 to 112 kmh (60 to 70 mph).
One of the rover’s creators, Marc Parker, told Business Insider that NASA provided his company with parameters for the vehicle. They then used that input to design and build their Batmobile-esque creation, which Parker calls “a dual-purpose vehicle.” “It actually separates in the middle,” he explained. “The rear section is a full lab, the front area is a cockpit for going out and doing scouting.”
Just a few days after its unveiling in Florida, the rover is already getting people excited about Mars exploration, and that excitement should only grow over the coming months. This summer, the vehicle will travel to various U.S. cities as part of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center’s “Summer of Mars” event, and after that, it will be included in a new “astronaut training experience” opening at the center this fall.
The impact of the rover won’t be limited to those who see it in person, either. “We’re also filming for a reality television series that’s going to be coming out about this build,” said Parker, who claims the show will be released on “one of the bigger cable networks.”
Like most concept cars, the Parker Brothers’ rover won’t actually see any practical action, but it could serve as a prototype for future vehicles. More importantly, it could inspire interest in space exploration, in which case its creation will have been well worth the effort.