Categories: world

Desert Test Drive for Mars Rover is controlled from 1000 miles away

Credit: ESA / Airbus DS / Mullard Space Science Laboratory / LATMOS ̵ 1; University Pierre et Marie Curie /…

Credit: ESA / Airbus DS / Mullard Space Science Laboratory / LATMOS ̵

1; University Pierre et Marie Curie / Open University / Imperial College / Natural History Museum

ExoFiT The Mars Rover Testing Team will use a new model called “Charlie” to test hardware, software and practice science operations for the future European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars rover, who will seek life on Mars in 2021.

The team will practice driving Charlie from his landlord, identify and travel to a geological outlook and then sample the mountain with its drilling.

Graham Turnock, CEO UK Space Agency said:

After the earth, Mars is the most habitable planet in the solar system, so it’s a perfect goal to explore the possibility of living on other planets, as well as our own history.

These small steps to control systems in Spain give us confidence that ExoMars will achieve what it was supposed to do. This and future efforts will prepare our researchers and engineers for the real business. I am proud that British science and inventiveness are crucial to the success of this mission.

During the test, the ExoFiT team will evaluate Charlie’s individual systems, including:

  • WISDOM ground penetrating radar
  • CLUPI close up imager [19659010] Panasonic Mastifier, which provides 3D maps of the area around rover and core drill to underground soil samples identified by WISDOM.

Rigorous testing of equipment and best practice development will help to ensure

Ben Dobke, Airbus Project Manager for ExoFiT said:

Credit: STFC RAL Space / Airbus DS / ESA

One of the primary goals of ExoFiT is the installation of effective remote science activities. It will enable the team of instrument researchers and engineers to practice how to remotely and interpret data from rover-mounted instruments. It is set as a plan to develop operational experience for both ExoMars and future robot-Mars missions.

Charlie Remote Control Center (RCC) will host the STFC Harwell Mission Operations Center, where each science team has a remote instrument operator based there.

Dr Rain Irshad, Autonomous Systems Group Leader at STFC RAL Space said:

It has been a really exciting week. The Harwell team worked with limited information – we created digital maps of the terrain for them and they had data sent each day by the rover. Then they had to decide where the rover would go and what instruments it would use to get the most interesting science. This test run was very similar to that of the robbers on Mars

There will be a follow-up test in the Atacama Desert in Chile next year.

ExoFiT is an ESA-funded project managed and implemented by Airbus Defense and Space, behind the MREP (Mars Robotic Exploration Program) as a technology development activity.

The future ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the Mars surface and drill down to determine whether evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the sun’s radiation that bomb the surface of the “Red Planet”.

The UK is the second largest European contributor to the ExoMars mission and has invested € 287 million in the mission and £ 14 million on the instruments.

The airbus defense and space in Stevenage lead the construction of the rover while the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is leading a key instrument called PanCam, a high definition 3D camera that will be used for loo k on the terrain and rocks to try to detect signs of life.

Leicester University and Teledyne e2v work with Raman Spectrometer with STFC RAL Space, which provides a part of the electronics including the data processing table.

Explore further:
British space officials are looking for a pretty name for Mars Rover

Provided by:
UK space organization

Published by