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Mars hoppers
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Fleet of INL-designed Mars hoppers could swiftly explore other worlds

Mars is our next frontier. We'd like to know whether the Red Planet ever hosted its own life forms - and where it might be able to host human explorers. The twin Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity have outlasted their planned three-month lifetime and given us our closest look yet at the Martian surface. But the solar-powered rovers have covered only 21 miles of Martian terrain in their combined 11 years of operation, leaving most of the surface unexplored.
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Mars hopper
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Mars 'hopper' may run on nuclear decay and Martian CO2

Nuclear decay-driven machines could gather gases from the atmosphere of Mars, giving future robotic missions leaps of a kilometre, researchers say.
A design concept in Proceedings of the Royal Society A outlines an approach to compress CO2 and liquefy it.
The liquid would then be heated much as in a standard rocket, expanding violently into a gas to propel exploratory craft great distances.
The authors suggest this is a better strategy to see more of the Red Planet.

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