Rosalind Franklin rover completes tests

Posted on 01 Feb 2020 and read 668 times
Rosalind Franklin rover completes testsThe Rosalind Franklin rover, which was built for the European Space Agency (ESA) by Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage (www.airbus.com), has completed a series of environmental tests, taking it another step closer to its launch in the summer.

Its mission will be to determine if there is (or there has ever been) life on Mars, and to better understand the history of water on the planet.

It will seek out interesting geological locations, examine them with its scientific tools and use its drill to take samples.

The six-wheeled vehicle underwent final thermal and vacuum tests in a simulated space environment at the Airbus facility in Toulouse, where it was heated and cooled to simulate the temperatures of its journey through space and its time on the surface of Mars.

It must also be able to operate in less than one hundredth of Earth’s atmospheric pressure — and in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.

The focus now moves to final checks on the rover’s systems, which include checking the alignment of instruments working together (such as the imaging systems).

A functional check of the interfaces with the surface platform and descent module that will deliver it safely to the surface of Mars will be performed at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes.

Rosalind Franklin is scheduled for lift-off in the 26 July-11 August launch window and should arrive at Mars on 19 March next year.

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