Kapvik micro-rover is the useful sidekick Mars Rovers have always dreamed of

Mars Rovers are big, expensive and prone to damage -- that's why a team from Carleton University is developing the Kapvik micro-rover. Kapvik is designed as a remote-operated sidekick to the primary rover, capable of being dispatched as a scout or to handle side-missions on its own. After the Spirit Rover was trapped in soft soil and lost, the smaller bots will include tethers to pull bigger robots out of trouble -- reducing the chances of losing millions of dollars worth of equipment (and breaking more nerd hearts than a cancelled Daft Punk show). Testing on the newly-unsheathed Kapvik continues, and we've got some sneaky behind-the-scenes footage purporting to be an early test of the bot's Pioneer navigation system after the break.

Update: Tim Setterfield from the program has very generously supplied us with a fresh video of the micro-rover as it traverses the sort of bumps that would make previous Mars Rovers run screaming to their mothers, check it out after the break.