Mars mania has subsided for most of us, but it’s just beginning for one Australian National University scientist. Dr Javaan Chahl heads for California’s Mojave Desert this week where he will demonstrate to NASA a prototype of what he hopes will be the future in planetary exploration. So far, mobile exploration of other worlds has been restricted to the Apollo moon buggies of the 1970s and unmanned Mars rovers like 1997’s Sojourner. But ground-based exploration is slow and has limited range. The next generation of robotic explorers will soar in the pink Martian skies to pick out ground sites of interest.