Press Release

NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Robotics Tests in Arizona Desert

By SpaceRef Editor
September 2, 2009
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NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Robotics Tests in Arizona Desert

NASA will hold the annual Desert “RATS,” or Research and Technology Studies, field test in the Arizona desert this fall, hosting a media day for journalists on Sept. 15.

Desert RATS will help determine what technologies and capabilities will be needed when NASA takes future trips beyond Earth. The tests will include a simulated 14-day mission during which two crew members — an astronaut and a geologist — will live inside NASA’s prototype Lunar Electric Rover. They will scout the test area for features of geological interest and conduct simulated moonwalks to collect samples.

NASA’s heavy-lift rover Tri-ATHLETE, or All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer, will carry a habitat mockup to which the lunar rover will dock. The media day will include lunar rover and Tri-ATHLETE demonstrations and opportunities to interview the engineers, scientists and astronauts involved in the tests.

Interested reporters should contact Brandi Dean at 281-244-1403 by Friday, Sept. 11, for the media day agenda and registration information. Access to the test site is restricted, and reporters must register in advance. NASA requires a letter of assignment on company letterhead for credentials.

During the Desert RATS tests, which have been taking place for more than a decade, engineers from NASA centers work with representatives from industry and academia.

For more information about NASA’s lunar field tests and links to follow Desert RATS activities on social media sites, visit:

CONTACT: Ashley Edwards, Headquarters, Washington, +1-202-358-1756,, Grey Hautaluoma, Headquarters, Washington, +1-202-358-0668,, or Brandi Dean, Johnson Space Center, Houston, +1-281-244-1403,, all of NASA

SpaceRef staff editor.