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To prepare for the next mission to Mars in 2020, NASA has taken to the lava fields of Iceland to get its new robotic space explorer ready for the job. With its black basalt sand, wind-swept dunes and craggy peaks, the Lambahraun lava field at the foot of Iceland's second biggest glacier, Langjokull, was chosen as a stand-in for the Red Planet's surface. For three weeks, 15 scientists and engineers sent by the U.S. space agency descended on the site, 100 kilometres from the capital, Reykjavik, last month to develop a prototype.

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The Hindu

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