July 24, 2021

NASA’s Perseverance rover is taking its own wheel for Mars drives

NASA’s Perseverance rover is picking up the pace on Mars thanks to technology that helps the robot avoid running into trouble on its otherworldly drives.

That technology, called AutoNav, is a navigation system that maps terrain and plans routes without the rover needing to rely as heavily on guidance from Earth. AutoNav is four or five times more powerful than equivalent technology tested on NASA’s previous Mars rover, Curiosity, which means Perseverance will be able to take more direct routes and travel faster, in turn allowing the rover to do more science in the same amount of time.