PISCES Rover

Q. WHAT IS A MOON/LUNAR ROVER?

A. It is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of the Moon.

Q. ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOON ROVERS?

A. Yes. Some are designed to carry astronauts and their equipment, such as NASA’s Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), also known as the “Moon Buggy”. Other rovers are robotic – unmanned and remote controlled from Earth – this is the type of rover PISCES has.

Q. WHERE DID PISCES GET THE ROVER?

A. From Ontario Drive Gear (ODG) via an extended loan agreement. ODG is a Canadian company that manufactures all-terrain vehicles designed for extreme conditions.

Q. WHEN DID THE ROVER ARRIVE IN HAWAII?

A. March 13, 2014 in Honolulu.

Q.  WHAT WILL PISCES DO WITH THE ROVER?

A. The rover is the heart of the “PISCES Robotic Village” and will be used for “in-situ resource utilization” (ISRU) research.

Q. WHAT IS ISRU?

A. It’s the process of manipulating raw materials on other planets into resources needed for human survival in space. The PISCES rover, for example, is designed to search the Moon for water and ice, which can not only be used to drink, but can also be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen – both of which are used to make rocket propellant.

Q. WHY IS ISRU IMPORTANT?

A. Resupply missions are expensive, and depending on them exclusively may put crews at risk. So astronauts who need to conduct long-term, deep-space missions for weeks or even months must learn to “live off the land” in space.

Q. WHAT IS THE “PISCES ROBOTIC VILLAGE”?

A.  It’ll be a robotic testing area where PISCES will conduct ISRU demonstrations at its planetary analog site to simulate a space mission and test the rover. The PISCES analog test site is an ideal place to conduct simulations because the dirt and the terrain is extremely similar to the Moon and Mars.

Q. HOW BIG IS THE ROVER?

A. 726 pounds and is about the size of a golf cart.