Searching for life on Mars

  • Airbus Defence and Space is developing the ExoMars rover, to be launched in 2022
  • The rover has been named after UK scientist Rosalind Franklin
  • Mission: Search for life on Mars in a joint European/Russian venture

The European and Russian space agencies (ESA and Roscosmos, respectively) launched their joint mission on 14 March 2016 to test technology for future exploratory surface missions on Mars.

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the first in a series of the two space agencies’ collaborative Mars missions, monitors seasonal changes in the planet’s atmosphere composition and temperature in search for evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could be evidence of active biological or geological processes.

This is just the first part of the programme whose ultimate goal is to examine the geological environment and search for life on Mars. ExoMars will also help to prepare for other robotic missions and possible future human exploration.

Its second part, scheduled for 2022, will send the 300 kg. ExoMars rover – a robotic vehicle – to the planet, with the landing scheduled for 2023. Capable of drilling as deep as two metres below the surface, it will search for signs of past or present life. The collected data will help to evaluate risks for future crewed missions as well as assist in broader studies of Martian geochemistry and environmental science.

The ExoMars rover was built by Airbus Defence and Space, at the company’s UK facility in Stevenage, UK. The rover has been named after Rosalind Franklin, a UK scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. ExoMars is the first to honour a woman scientist on its flagship discovery craft.

This composite image shows the Airbus-developed ExoMars rover and its namesake, UK scientist Rosalind Franklin.

The rover has been named after UK scientist Rosalind Franklin

See also

Mars Rover in Trafalgar Square

The Mars rover prototype built by Airbus Defence and Space for the ExoMars mission was featured in Trafalgar Square, London, the UK in November 2016 for the launch event of National Geographic’s TV series “MARS.” 

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Airbus ExoMars Prototype Bruno    
Sample Fetch Rover Transfer Mod    
Sample Fetch Rover Size Comparison Fiat 500 Copyright Airbus    
ExoMars in TVAC    
ExoMars Rover in TVAC    
ExoMars in TVAC    
Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover leaves UK for testing ahead of launch    
Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover    
Rosalind Franklin    
ExoMars Rover at the Airbus booth during the 69th International Astronautical Congress    
ExoMars Rover on the cleanroom    
Exomars Stage    
Mars rover in trafalgar square    
Mars Rover testing - drawing version    
Airbus Defence & Space/Mars Rover/Meteron    
Mars Rover      
Interview with Liz Seward. Exomars Rover      
Europe's first Mars Rover      
The challenges of Mars      
What is ExoMars      
The rover is expected to travel several kilometers during its mission      
The ExoMars Rover will be the next rover to land on planet Mars      
Meet the Rovers Bryan and Bruno      
WorldSpaceWeek – Discover the Mars Yard      
Mars Rover in Trafalgar Square      
METERON - Promo clip      
Space exploration by Airbus Defence and Space      
Orion ESM - Service module for NASA's spacecraft Orion - Clip 2      
Europe's first Mars Rover and their sandy "playground"      

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