Europe’s first planetary rover, named “Rosalind Franklin,” has now been built and taken its next step towards space travel. UK Airbus engineers displayed the completed vehicle, scheduled to launch on July 2020, before dispatching it on its journey.
The rover has a clear mission to search out if there is life on Mars.
The rover itself is a complicated mixture of instruments, all effective-tuned to help scientists make a step-by-step exploration of the Martian surface.
It’s equipped with a 2-meter (6.6-foot) drill to help dig under the surface of Mars and discover components of the planet unharmed by radiation. Mars’ surface is believed to be very radioactive, that means life is unlikely to be found on the surface.
And last week, the rover’s eyes were fitted. Or more precisely, the cameras which will help the vehicle see and search for signs of life.
The core design of the panoramic camera system known as PanCam came from a team at University College London (UCL), who informed news agency that their hard work was really “surprisingly simple.”
However, they had to overcome numerous challenges to design three cameras able to withstand a trip to Mars.
If the radiation and distance weren’t enough of a worry, temperatures on Mars can drop as low as -130 degrees Celsius during the night and rise to up to 20°C (68°F) during the day, according to Mary Carter, Pan-Cam project manager.
In Toulouse, the rover might be tested to ensure it could survive its launch from Earth next summer and the extreme weather conditions of Mars when it lands on the planet in March 2021.
The UK Space Agency, the second most significant European contributor to the ExoMars mission, having invested €287 million ($318 million), commended the rover’s completion.
While the rover is barely moving between European countries now, there is actual anticipation that discoveries will be made when it will make the voyage to another planet.