On several occasions we have explained to our readers the Soviet plans for short and medium term space exploration. As is known, the ultimate goal is for man to move at the beginning of the next century and a series of missions are planned to explore the red planet. The first mission was Fobos, who could not complete his work. In the coming years new missions will be launched to achieve this last goal.
Among the short-term missions is Martitz 96. This mission has an important particularity, consisting of the launch of a remote control vehicle. The vehicles that in the 1970s were successfully illuminated by the Soviets were baptized with the name Lunakhod and those that will be marked will be called Marsokhod. The Soviets have already built a prototype of marsokhoda and have started doing field tests.
For the realization of the field tests have been selected the Earth Landscapes with conditions similar to those of the surface of Mars, where it will demonstrate the controllability, adaptability, adequacy, flexibility, etc. of the vehicle. Among the selected test areas is the Tolbajik volcano region of the Kamchatka peninsula, east of Siberia. Another test field is the Mojave desert in California.
Last September, Tolbaji conducted the first tests of the Marsokhod vehicle on the volcano and drew positive conclusions. In addition to Soviet designers and engineers, led by Alexander Kermurdian and Valeri Gromov, representatives of one of the project's promoters, THE PLANETARY SOCIETY, were present. The movements and the route of the marsokhoda have been shot in video to be able to analyze them more carefully. The vehicle has had a hard test: it has been among the ashes; it has had to go up and down the slopes; it has had to overcome or discard the obstacles, etc.
The main objective of these tests was to carry out a series of tests that allowed to measure the speed by using the different types of moments on the wheels of the vehicle, as well as to know the movement of the wheels and their influence at the time. The Soviets want the vehicle chassis to be also a meter. Its speed, soil characteristics, surface morphology, etc. would measure them.
The sessions are not over. Next spring, in the Mojave desert, they will be given continuity in their special conditions (heat and dryness).