Picture of the Week—Next-Gen Mars Rover

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Those two little Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have far outlasted their original expected lifespans, but they have their limitations. They may have traveled far, but they have sometimes gotten stuck along the way. And we never saw them attempt to traverse a cliff or crevasse. The tethered "Cliffbot," however, looks to be far sturdier and more adventurous. It was designed to sample rock outcrops on Mars and the Moon, where there is plenty of interesting geology to explore. Testing has to be done here on earth, though, so where did scientists go to find a Mars-like surface? Svalbard, Norway.

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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