I've recently noticed that all the robotic missions to other planets except for Mars were either short-lived landers, orbiters or fly-by missions.

Are there any planned rovers which would actively locomote across a surface of a celestial body other than the Moon, Mars or Earth?


No. Nothing approved or on track for approval in foreseeable future.

There's a bunch of missions that will have landers, sample return, impactors and other interesting activities at different bodies, but none with wheels.

The closest thing to a rover that is probable to see the light of the day currently would be TALISE (not yet approved), a boat-probe which would navigate Ligeia Mare, the second largest lake on Saturn's moon Titan.

Of course there's a myriad of other proposals in different stages, many of them rovers, but it's currently hard to predict which ones are realistic to work, obtain approval, funding, and a launch schedule. Vast majority of them will never leave the stage of drafts, so it's pointless to guess anyway.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If we're considering "locomotion across a surface" wouldn't Hayabusa-2's three "rovers" count? The DLR Mascot rover even has a wheel (except it's inside the rover!). It's planned to land in October last I heard. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Jul 8 '18 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek: I didn't include hoppers/aerobots - which is my arbitrary decision. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jul 8 '18 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek Thanks for mentioning those, I had no idea they exist! Those are relevant too, despite being more "flea-bots" than rovers :-) $\endgroup$ – JohnEye Jul 8 '18 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ With ~0.5mm/s^2 gravitational acceleration, and ~0.5m/s of escape speed, it's hard to have anything else. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jul 8 '18 at 13:07

@SF is right, there's no mission involving a rover to destinations other than the moon or Mars that's anywhere close to a project start. But over the past decade or so there have been NASA studies of rover missions at Venus. With the horrendous conditions at the surface of Venus this is an extremely difficult undertaking, one that won't be feasible without some rather challenging new technology developments. It will be a long time before we see a rover mission to Venus, but clever people are thinking about it.

  • $\begingroup$ Before sending a rover to Venus, we should be able to send a lander there which is surviving at least some weeks or months. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jul 8 '18 at 9:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The four major technologies needed for a long-lived Venus lander are electric power supplies that can reject heat to 735 K, electronics that can operate at temperatures much higher than current semiconductor devices, refrigeration systems that can reject heat to 735 K and maintain temperatures that the electronics can tolerate, and instruments that can operate either at Venus temperatures and pressures or within the confines of the cooled pressure vessel. Those are the same primary technologies needed for rovers. The lander would be first, but the rover could follow soon after. $\endgroup$ – Tom Spilker Jul 9 '18 at 4:40

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.