CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBS4) – NASA’s Kennedy Space Center kicked off its “Summer of Mars” promotion showcasing a prototype for a futuristic Mars rover concept vehicle.

Former astronaut Scott Kelly also made an appearance, sharing some of his experiences during his yearlong stay aboard the International Space Station.

Per a press release, Rebecca Shireman, assistant manager of public relations for the Kennedy visitor complex, the “Summer of Mars” program will provide a survey of NASA’s studies of the Red Planet.

“It’s an all-encompassing effort to review the history of our efforts to explore Mars and look ahead to what is being planned,” she said. “We hope this will encourage young people to want to learn more about being a part of the effort to go to Mars.”

The next robotic Mars rover will land on the Red Planet sometime in 2020. That rover will search for signs of past microbial life for a potential return trip to Earth sometime in the future.

The vehicle has an electric motor powered by solar panels and a 700-volt battery. It can separate, with a scouting area in the front and a mobile laboratory in the back.


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