You may have heard of the Rovers on mars, but have you heard of the Jolly Rovers on Mars?
Throughout the past five years, NASA has been collecting evidence on the planet’s ability to support life, as well as studying its waterways, terrain and climate. The Curiosity Rover Mission, launched in 2011 to explore the Gale Crater, has gained a tremendous amount of insight in the planet’s history and, most notably, hard evidence that the planet can indeed sustain life.
An ancient stream bed, estimated to hold water at knee-level thousands of years ago, was discovered in just the first few weeks of landing. Although water is a key factor in bio retention, NASA tipped the scale of reasonable doubt when the Curiosity Rover drilled into the planet’s surface and found key chemical ingredients and clay minerals to support the theory. Certainly the car-sized robotic scientist has earned its keep, but it is currently in rude health.
The Curiosity has suffered magnitude of damage over the years including broken sensors, damage to the robotic arm and other injuries. NASA has confirmed that updates to the machine would take years and billions of dollars. In addition, the innovation rate for technological advantages would supersede the machines ability. “It would be much more efficient to reinvent the Rover when we reach a plateau in the mods and specs we can offer it,” says NASA representative, Carl Muller, but proceeded to describe a solution that would be “the most creative and innovative yet.”
An action plan was implemented to pave a safe trail on Mars in order for the Curiosity, and other Rovers to follow, to conduct more research without incurring damage. “The trail system planned for Mars would allow the Curiosity to safely travel the planet,” says Carl Muller, “while we work on new technologies at the base, we can shift our efforts on Mars to create a system for other Rovers to follow.”
In order to accomplish this, NASA has partnered up with The Jolly Rovers Trail Crew, a Nonprofit organization specializing in the craft of stonework to improve access to public parks and forests here on Earth. Chris Ingui, founder of the trail crew, is excited about the opportunity, but recognizes the challenges posed by the initiative. “We aren’t sure what type of stone we will have to work with, and without trees, high lines will not be an option,” says Ingui, “it’s not going to be easy, but that’s why NASA recruited us. When it comes to trails, our team is known for navigating tricky setups and banding together to come up with a solution.”
Although the proposal is still in the beginning stages, NASA has prepared a ship for the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew and is working on preparing tools that can withstand the mysterious planet’s terrain. “We are honored to be working with the Jolly Rovers on the project and have already begun preparing the necessary materials” says Muller.
“The Joke”, a shuttle outfitted for a crew of 50, is due to land on April 1st, 2025.