This is like a robot burning man festival…I would love to check this out…
Space Droids In The Desert
Arizona tourists may think they’ve stumbled upon a science fiction movie set if they find themselves near the state’s famed Meteor Crater in early September. Though they won’t get a glimpse of R2D2 or C3PO, they will see robots, rovers and space suited subjects with the latest interplanetary gear trekking over some of the state’s harshest topography.
For two weeks a year, the stark Arizona landscape becomes a surrogate planet for NASA scientists. Why? Well, you can only do so much in a laboratory and it’s a long way to Mars.
The temperature extremes, gusty winds and grit and dust of Arizona’s high desert make it an ideal location to field test and evaluate prototype planetary exploration gear. So, now it is exam time for NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS), a team of scientists and engineers who test futuristic equipment that may one day be used for explorations of the moon and Mars.
This is the ninth year for Desert RATS to test a variety of advanced prototype equipment and operational concept techniques. The two-week trials will be conducted Sept. 4 -16 on remote field sites near the crater.