The puny Phoenix lander might be dominating the news right now, but in a few (dozen) years, we might be enjoying the Red Planet from a much more suburban perspective. A young designer has adapted one of man's greatest achievements - the S.U.V. - to the Martian landscape. By scaling up the spidery walking legs of NASA's ATHLETE rovers, the massive Moonstream would be able to slowly but smoothly traverse Mars' uneven surfaces with a giant payload of people and hardware.
The Phoenix straining its wiry little arm to scrape some ice off the ground isn't a terribly impressive expression of NASA's billions, but the Moonstream looks forward to a time when the space program's spending will be a little more apparent. The pilot (or conductor, or driver, or Mom) navigates from a separate, elevated pod at the front of the vehicle, leaving the rest of the presumably large crew to do whatever they want in a cushy main cabin, furnished with all the amenities you would expect in a Martian tour bus.
The designer claims to have taken cues from nature, citing the turtle shells and the stance of giraffes as inspirations. To be completely honest though, it looks like a DLP projector with wheels. Anyway, all this Phoenix talk just serves to remind everyone how lame it is that we aren't driving around on Mars already, and the Moonstream wouldn't be a bad way to do it.
[Anthony Sims via DVICE]