TOP NEWS UPDATES

NASA’s self-driving Mars Rover begins search for signs of ancient life

NASA’s self-driving six-wheeled robot on Mars — the Perseverance rover — is set to start an epic journey across a crater floor to seek signs of ancient life, the US space agency said on Friday. The rover, moving at a top speed of 120 metres per hour, will trek across the Martian landscape using a newly enhanced auto-navigation system. Called AutoNav, this enhanced system makes 3D maps of the terrain ahead, identifies hazards, and plans a route around any obstacles without additional direction from controllers back on Earth. “We have a capability called ‘thinking while driving’,” said Vandi Verma, a senior engineer, rover planner, and driver at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, in a statement on Friday. “The rover is thinking about autonomous drive while its wheels are turning,” Verma added. Using AutoNav, Perseverance will begin its first science campaign on the…