Called the Mars Concept Vehicle, the new 5,500-pound, 28-foot-long, 11-foot-tall, six-wheeled rover, constructed at the Kennedy Space Center and making a cross-country tour, is more of an aspirational design than the real deal.
A mobile laboratory on the rear of the vehicle can detach and remain stationary while the front vehicle explores.
With landing sites selected for the next NASA rover mission scheduled to visit Mars in 2020, and active test flights for spacecrafts like Orion that could shuttle astronauts to other planets, the first human visitors to Mars could very well be among the crowds visiting the Air and Space Museum this summer.
Mars Day is also the one time a year that an Earthling can get up close and personal with the Red Planet.
Other interactive displays include high resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and examples of recent Martian storms, asteroid impacts, and avalanches that illustrate the dynamic, changing environment of our nearest planetary neighbor, one orbit further away from the sun.