Big things are happening on the Red Planet, especially in the last couple of months with NASA’s recent announcement regarding the InSight, NASA’s newest Mars rover, successfully landing and transmitting information regards Mars’ interior. The new rover is set to drill up to 5 meters into Mars’ surface in order to get a better understand of the planet's temperature.
As for the newest developments, well, it appears that self-driving rovers are set to be the future when it comes to exploring our neighboring planet. Mars has been home to countless robots since the 1990s, however, technology has since developed for greater than what has been sent to Mars nearly three decades ago. According to Discover Magazine, new software from the United Kingdom could allow rovers such as InSight to drive them around the rocky Martian terrain and allow them to further explore the planet than ever before.
According to the source, it takes nearly eight minutes both ways for commands and communication to travel to and from the Red Planet, meaning robots on Mars guided by humans on Earth can really only travel a little more than a hundred feet per day. Although that is still a massive feat from where we first started off, this new software can enable future rovers to decide where they go and how to get there completely autonomously. This ultimately separated the direct commands from Earth completely, eliminating any delay or distraction, giving a Martian rover full self-driving capabilities.
Not only would this free up any future rovers from traveling over half a mile (1 km) per day, but can expand the amount of data the rover collects and transmits back to Earth. This can help NASA and space organizations alike to gather far more frequent scientific findings. The elimination of human intervention when it comes to a Martian rover can help identify and investigate countless points of interest that a human may have missed! This software is a huge step in furthering our adventures to Mars and gathering more and more information regarding the Red Planet’s terrains, temperatures and any life the planet may host.