Space exploration on West Wittering beach

Scientists will be testing their new space rovers on West Wittering beach
Scientists will be testing their new space rovers on West Wittering beach

EXPERTS in robotics are set to use the unique conditions on West Wittering beach to test their new space rovers.

The loose sand and dunes of the beach emulate the terrain of planets like Mars making it an ideal place to field test the prototype.

Scientists from the University of Surrey’s Space Centre will use the MART (Surrey Technology for Autonomous systems and Robotics) rover during the trials.

Professor of Space Autonomous Systems, Yang Gao, is running the trial.

“These field trials will directly enhance the UK contribution to various on-going European research and missions,” said Proff Gao.

He said the technologies developed at Surrey would allow extraterrestrial bodies to be explored, and soil samples analysed, by viable micro-rovers, within cost constraints.

“Micro-rovers offer complementary solutions to the existing large rovers like Spirit or Curiosity of NASA and are envisaged to play crucial roles in future planetary missions where they can be used as a scout for a large ‘mother’ rover or as a special sample collecting rover,” he said.