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CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – The Kennedy Space Center’s Mars rover is wrapping up its U.S. tour.  The concept vehicle shows what a manned Mars rover might look like.

Carter and Marshall Demars got their first taste of the future of space travel – meeting former astronaut Mike Massimino and getting up close to a prototype of NASA’s newest Mars rover.

“The size of the rover is just humongous. I thought it would be one of those puny rovers, but it’s just so big,” said Marshall.

The nearly three-ton monster mobile looks like it’s made for Hollywood, but it’s meant for the Red Planet.

mars rover front view Mars Rover Wrapping Up US Tour To Showcase Future Of Space Travel

(Source: CBS Newspath)

NASA engineers did, in fact, team up with movie props designers to create the 11-feet high, 24-feet long vehicle.

Since it won’t ever really travel to the Mars, the mission here is earthbound.

“I think the major purpose of it is probably to create excitement, get ideas going, get people excited about going,” said Massimino.

With six massive wheels, it can only travel up to 6 mph.

The rover has four seats in the front and drives like an SUV. There’s detachable lab where astronauts can do experiments.

Massimino says the challenge in sending people to mars is the cost.

The Kennedy Space Center funded this rover, but it doesn’t have the expensive life support needed to make a months-long trip possible.

“To ensure a safe journey and a safe return of people is really expensive and that’s going to take a budget, a commitment from government that is very significant,” said Massimino.

Marshall says he’s game to be the first man on Mars.

“I’ve always been the guy that wants to discover things, so I would go for sure,” he said.

And he’s just the right age. NASA hopes to send a man or woman to mars around the year 2030.


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