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Mars on Earth - sand pit recreates planet

28 March 2014 Last updated at 08:45 GMT

What's the best way to test a Mars rover before launch? Well it turns out the easiest way is to build a test planet here on Earth...

Scientists in Hertfordshire have recreated a small piece of the Mars surface which has the same sand and rocks as the red planet, and is about the size of a basketball court.

It will be used to test systems on the Mars rover that Europe will send to the planet in four years time.

ExoMars, as it's known, will be a six-wheeled robot on a mission to find signs of past or present life.