The Moon-1 HumveeEnlarge Photo
The public has not always been kind to the Mars Institute. Over the years, the organization has been criticized for being unreasonable, impractical, and unnaturally fixated on Star Trek (the William Shatner version, natch.)
The public has not always been kind to Hummers, either. Folks who drive America's favorite high-end monster truck have been vilified as aggressive, tree-hating asshats who should learn to hang up and drive. (Not that we'd ever blame anyone for being aggressive.)
A few years ago, these two maligned entities joined forces--specifically, the Mars Institute began designing a future Mars Rover based on the Hummer's military cousin, the Humvee. The Institute's team of crack scientists have been tinkering with a prototype for the past six years or so, running tests in a limited area of chilly Devon Island. Next month, however, they're going to give the rover its first real road test on a cross-Canadian trip from Vancouver to the Arctic Circle. Ironically--at least for greenies--one of the team's major concerns will be pollution; researchers will take numerous samples to check the Humvee's effects on the environment, in the hopes of preventing a similar vehicle from contaminating the "pristine" Martian landscape.
We should point out that the Mars Institute is in no way affiliated with NASA, which is working on its own prototypes for future Mars Rovers. But hey, you can't blame a bunch of guys for dreaming.
[source: PopularMechanics; thanks to all for the tips!]