With his astrophysicist friend, Neil deGrasse Tyson riding shotgun.
NASA unveiled its Mars Rover concept at the Kennedy Space Center last year and what better way to publicize the awesome all-terrain vehicle than by giving the keys to The Late Show host, Stephen Colbert.
There was some method to its madness though as Colbert commands a huge social media following, and he invited his friend, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson along for some scientific support. The two met up in the center of New York and set off on a short trip to see how the Rover handled the dangers of midday traffic.
While the ride was more about having fun than any fact-finding, the two did test Stephen’s ‘hypothesis’ that it would be cool to run over a dozen eggs with the Mars Rover. They surmised that it was indeed cool. They also observed that the seat design seemed rather impractical and uncomfortable, although Tyson pointed out that they would only be about 40% of their current weight on Mars so it wouldn't be an issue there.
The Rover itself weighs approximately 6,000 pounds so even though its 700-volt battery seemed to imbue it with rather leisurely acceleration on Earth, the duo got the Rover up to around 4 mph. It is said to be capable of up to 70 mph on Mars though, thanks to its vastly lower curb weight and lower air resistance.
Able to carry up to four occupants, the Mars Rover was designed by Parker Brothers Concepts as a multi-purpose vehicle, capable of being used as either a scout vehicle or mobile research facility. The huge 50-inch wheels should make short work of Mars’ inhospitable terrain, they should also be quite useful during Manhattan's rush hour.
It is an imposing machine too, its 11-foot height dwarfed just about anything else on the streets and it definitely has a Batmobile vibe about it as Stephen pointed out. This may just be a concept vehicle for now, but the Mars Rover sure looks way cooler than any space-bound vehicle so far, and that includes Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster.