Sending RATs to Mars NASA

NASA and JPL are sending RATS to Mars to work as field geologists. A RAT is not quite a furry little friend, but rather a high-tech robot with diamond teeth, called a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). One RAT will ride on each of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers, launching to Mars in the summer of 2003. These RATS will allow humans to remotely “crack open” rocks on Mars for the first time in the history of Mars exploration. “This is terribly exciting, but it’s a little intimidating because no one has ever tried to get into a rock on Mars before,” says Stephen Gorevan. Gorevan is the chairman of Honeybee, the small robotics contractor for the Rock Abrasion Tool that sits half a mile away from ground zero in New York City. Gorevan explains that past Mars missions to the surface had different science and technology objectives. ” The Viking landers in the 1970’s scooped up dirt on Mars and the Sojourner rover proved we could move around on Mars in 1997.” Digging into a rock is the next step for the maturing Mars program.