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Fri May 19, 2017, 11:46 PM

Astronauts may wear eight-legged 'spider' spacesuits to crawl on the moons of Mars

Dave Mosher

Phobos, a moon of Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

When the first astronauts reach Mars in the 2030s, they'll never set foot on the planet's surface. Instead, NASA wants its plucky human crew to orbit the desert world for about a year, then return home.

But that doesn't mean astronauts couldn't explore Phobos or Deimos two tiny and intriguing moons of Mars.

Lockheed Martin, a company that's building NASA's Orion spaceship, recently put forth a tantalizing pitch for a sortie mission: Put astronauts inside an eight-legged, rocket-powered spacesuit that can crawl, walk, or hop across a moon's surface.

"We're calling it the Spider Flyer-Walker suit," Timothy Cichan, the Lockheed engineer who leads the company's Mars exploration planning, told Business Insider.


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