Why do rovers travel so slowly?

Rovers refer to robotic cars that are typically sent to other planets for exploration purposes.  Some rovers are designed to get soil and rock samples from other planets like Mars while other rovers are specifically configured to take various photos of a distant planet and send them back to Earth.  With these kinds of missions though, rovers are expected to travel at a slow pace of only 30 km/h.  This speed is considered very slow and some people have wondered why this is so.  The main reason for the rover’s slow speed is that it is configured as such by scientists on Earth. This configuration is done because the rovers are controlled from the Earth to move through the fields of a planet that is light-years away.  The farther the rovers are from Earth, the longer will it receive any command from the Earth.  Slowing the rovers to a minimum speed will allow scientists on Earth to have some control over the robotic car before any untoward incident happens.  It is said that commands from the Earth could as take as long as 15 seconds to reach rovers in Mars for example.  With this very long lag after the commands are given, the rovers are somewhat at risk as they travel to the unchartered terrain of other planets.

Rovers are considered very important tools for exploring other planets in terms of their natural environment and possible discovery of life forms or evidences.  These robotic machines are also very delicate and expensive making them very valuable in the scientific community. With so much delay in terms of commands, scientists need to make sure that these rovers will not encounter in any problems or emergencies while performing their functions in distant planets.  One way to prevent possible problems with the rovers is to have them move slowly while getting pictures or picking up rocks for example.  The slow speed in rovers is basically meant as a precautionary measure to avoid rover malfunction or any other problems.

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