22 Jan 2015

Spaceward Bound

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 2:08 pm on 22 January 2015

Rotorua from space PD NASA

Rotorua from space. Photo by NASA.

As part of NASA's long-term planning to send humans to Mars, a team of American scientists is in Rotorua to work with locals on exploration fieldwork.

Spaceward Bound Rotorua slimescape by Steve Pointing

Rotorua - up close. Photo by Steve Pointing.

They're testing a new type of space buggy, among other projects.

Spaceward Bound Rover testing by Steve Pointing

Rover testing in Rotorua. Photo by Steve Pointing.

Professor Steve Pointing is director at the Institute for Applied Ecology at AUT and participating in the work. He tells Simon Mercep about what they are up to, and why the scientists chose Rotorua.

Earlier Simon spoke to one of NASA's AstroTwins, Scott Kelly.