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    It’s not everyday you see NASA researchers, in full astronaut gear, riding around on ATVs…unless you happen to be at a research facility high up in the Arctic Circle.

    NASA and the Mars Institute are conducting research to determine whether life on the surface of Mars could be a reality in the near future. This area is known as Haughton Crater and folks smarter than us have determined that it has the closest resemblance to Mars on Earth. To get around this desolate and harsh landscape researchers are using Kawasaki Bayou 250 ATVs.

    Kawasaki has put together a video showing what the researchers are doing and why the ATVs are proving themselves so valuable.

    Get the Flash Player to see this player.

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      It was only a matter of time before Kawasaki joined the likes of Yamaha, Honda, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Suzuki with an ATV equipped with power steering. It looks like that time has finally come.

      We had a chance to talk to some Kawasaki representatives recently and we’ve been told that Kawasaki will begin taking orders from dealers for a power steering equipped ATV in February, 2011. Unfortunatley, we weren’t given any more information than that so we don’t know with any certainty which model will be introduced with power steering. But we can certainly speculate!

      The most obvious choice for power steering would be the Brute Force 750 4x4i. This is Kawasaki’s flagship ATV and it would seem a natural fit. This machine is big and powerful and that also means it’s no lightweight. Power steering would make harnessing the power of the Brute Force’s big V-Twin that much easier for the rider.

      It’s also possible Kawasaki could roll out power steering on a new model. Team Green has a fairly obvious hole in its 4×4 lineup in the middleweight range. A 500 or 550cc Brute Force would give Kawasaki a chance to push a brand new machine with brand new technology, much like Suzuki did when it introduced its KingQuad 500 AXi exclusively with power steering for the 2009 model year.

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        The ATV Safety Institute has made a handful of young ATV riders very happy after handing out seven cash prizes to the winners of its “Do the Ride Thing” video contest.

        An ASI judging panel selected the winners among dozens of entries from young enthusiasts nationwide, all aiming to highlight the “Golden Rules” of ATV Safety.

        Bobby Burns of Getzville, NY, won the grand prize of $2,500, while his younger brother Nathan won the $1,100 first place prize in the age 6-10 category.

        “This is the first video contest I’ve ever won so it’s like crazy awesome!” says Bobby Burns, age 13. “I thought protective gear was the most important message to tell kids, and also to not drive on public roads.”

        The ASI chose winners in three age categories, along with the grand prize winner, whose video can be viewed below.

        Get the Flash Player to see this player.

        “ASI encourages all kids to follow the Golden Rules of ATV safety, but that message can have a much greater impact when spoken by another kid,” says Paul Vitrano, executive vice president, ASI. “The ‘Do The Ride Thing’ contest allows us to draw attention to safe ATV practices and teach young riders and their parents how important it is to always ride safe/ride smart.”

        The ASI’s “Do the Ride Thing” Video Contest winners for the summer of 2010 are:

        Grand Prize
        * $2,500 Grand Prize Winner – Bobby Burns of Getzville, New York. See Bobby’s video here.
        Ages 6-10
        * $1,100 First Place Winner – Nathan Burns of Getzville, New York. See Nathan’s video here.
        Ages 11-14
        * $1,100 First Place Winner – Devin Williams and Hunter Tucker of Crossville, Alabama. See Devin & Hunter’s video here.
        * $800 Second Place Winner – Caleb McDowel of Marion, South Carolina.
        Ages 15-18
        * $1,100 First Place Winner – Tori Winslow and Timmy Winslow of Elk Grove, California. See Tori & Tim’s video here.
        * $800 Second Place Winner – Michaela Jade Poore and Brett George of Crossville, Alabama.
        * $600 Third Place Winner – Tiffany Bruce, Avery Ross and Jon Surrett of Crossville, Alabama.

        The ASI designed the contest (which ran from June 18 to Sept. 6) to inform and motivate kids and their parents on the responsible use of ATV riding while spreading the message to other young riders. Every entry took a unique approach to demonstrate safe riding practices.

        The ATV Safety Institute’s Golden Rules
        1.  Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
        2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law – another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
        3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
        4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people.
        5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
        6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
        7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
        8. Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourse and the free online E-Course. Visit ATVSafety.org or call 800.887.2887.

        Related Reading
        ATV Safety Institute hosting video contest for young riders

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          2xl0125A new racing game is out for the iPhone and iPod Touch – 2XL ATV Offroad.

          2XL ATV Offroad calls itself the “hottest action-packed racing game to hit the iPhone or iPod Touch.” It features 16 ATV Supercross and Outdoor National tracks, two freestyle levels, up to 16 stunts and a “massive” career mode.

          The game, which retails for $4.99, allows users to choose between 250cc and 450cc ATVs, as well as hundreds of ATV and rider skin combinations. Multiplayer mode is available, which allows you to race other users. You can check out a trailer of the game after the break.

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            snow-atv0125In our efforts to help you waste as much time at work as possible, we stumbled across a free ATV game you may be interested in – Snow ATV.

            Unlike basically everything other ATV game we’ve seen, Snow ATV is not racing game or a freestyle game.  It’s set up more as an ATV obstacle course.

            As it’s completely free (except for the 30 second advertisement at the beginning), there’s really not a lot too Snow ATV. Controls are very simple – everything is controlled with the arrow keys. We found the controls to be pretty touchy, but you’ll get the hang of things in a few minutes.

            The game is broken down into levels and each level is basically a straight line – no turns at all. Of course, there are plenty of obstacles in the way. You’ll have to climb over rocks, trees, tires, cars across a slippery snowy landscape.