Mars Rover Art Car

The Mars Rover Art Car made history at Burning Man 2013. The first art car ever allowed inside the perimeter was also the only art car ever to broadcast the burn live over the internet, thanks to the hard work and dedication of its crew.

A video recording of the live broadcast is available on YouTube, and be sure to follow the MRAC on Facebook to keep up with its many appearances.

The Mars Rover Art Car inside the perimeter and broadcasting live from Burning Man 2013. - Photo by Tom Varden

The Mars Rover Art Car inside the perimeter and broadcasting live from Burning Man 2013.
Photo by Tom Varden

Why We Do What We Do

The Mars Rover Art Car is being built by a group of talented people from the Los Angeles area, being supported from people from all over the United States via the Internet collaboration tools. Many of the members come from the Los Angeles League of Arts, several Burning Man camps, and other art cars like Charlie the Unicorn and the Dancetronauts. The name of the core build group is a not so well kept secret of “The Desert Wizards of Mars”.

On August 5, 2012, the employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory pulled off the most amazing technological feet in space exploration by safely landing a 1 ton rover on Mars. To pay tribute to their achievement, we want to build something special for events like School Visits, Science Fairs, and Burning Man.

This is a private, and volunteer funded art car that would be an artistic “steampunk” version of the Mars Curiosity Rover except built to hold about 6 human passengers. The car will be one of the most technologically advanced cars as it will have real remote sensors like a weather station, gps tracking, camera, and crowd sourced navigation system, all based via the Internet.

Like the real rovers, a project of this magnitude requires many different people with many different skills.  The Desert Wizards of Mars will bring together a community of builders, electricians, mechanics, engineers, artists, fans, and supporters to build the Mars Rover Art Car.

Although the primary purpose is an artistic representation of the Mars Curiosity Rover, the secondary purpose will be to provide education and awareness of space exploration, and our place in the universe.

To accomplish this complex task, the Desert Wizards will showcase an innovative “Rocket Stove” created by renown permaculturist Ray Cirino.  The stove uses a preheated rocket air inlet to burn recycled wood very efficiently   The stove will also have a solar sail shade cooker that will use solar energy to cook and when not in use provide shade.

The Desert Wizards of Mars also have a few JPL employees*  lending their artistic and technical experience to the project.  Among them is Burning Man artist Charles White who organized teams to fabricate and create two art cars and a static 20′ foot metal sculpture.

This Art Car will travel to car shows, fairs, and Burning Man 2013.

This is an art project that is 100% citizen funded and there is no official relationship with Caltech, JPL or NASA. Any employees of the above organizations participating on the project do so as private citizens of the arts and do so on their own non-work time.  No endorsements are assumed or stated.

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