My family and I went to the wonderful NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Open House this weekend. Among the many fascinating sights they shared with the public, this was our favorite. The mobility test platform for the Curiosity Mars rover. With its rocker-bogie passive balance suspension system, this bot does not consider large rocks to be much of an obstacle. At 20″, its wheels are twice the size of those of its predecessors, including the forever-stuck Spirit. Plus, there was a woman from JPL controlling it from an iPhone.

Here’s a photo I took of the actual Curiosity rover in the clean room, awaiting its trip to Cape Canaveral for a November 2011 launch to Mars.

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

  • Антон Т.   –  video – the test drive of the model of Soviet Marsokhod (I mean – Mars Rover) on the Kamchata peninsular, somewhere on the volcanic eruption.

    It’s arranging is much better the american rover: it has no clearance and it could “step” with its three modules (so it can not stuck like Spirit ^_^ )
    and one photo from test location on Tolbachik volkano

  • Bosco P. Soultrane

    yes, but does it make popcorn? 

  • Anonymous

     Wheels attached to a steering arm on one side?  I would think it would be better to split the wheels and attach the steering from above, that way it can’t get jammed up against a rock and get stuck.

  • Robot Platform

    Just looks like a huge mess. Will check more info on that and update here…