Recently, NASAsendA team of more than a dozen scientists and engineers traveled to Iceland to test new Mars exploration techniques at a lava field that is very similar to the Martian landscape.
The lava field is about 62 miles from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. When NASA scientists arrived, they brought a very special "guest." This is a prototype of a rover that the team is using to test a variety of technologies that may come in handy in future Mars missions, including the Mars 2020 mission. However, it is much more durable than anything NASA sends to the red planet.
The rover is powered by two motors, and its design takes into account the Earth test, which means it can withstand the weather that the Mars probe can't handle. It is also much faster than the current rover that is roaming on the red planet, moving at about 0.5 mph. For reference, the Curiosity Rover has a top speed of only 0.08 mph.
The robot is equipped with many of the same instruments as the "Mars 2020" detector, including various sensors and cameras, but it also lacks some important features such as the ability to collect and sample rocks. Still, the Rover prototype is helping engineers learn how to make the most of Mars 2020 while addressing any potential hazards that Mars robots may encounter on the road.