ExoMars Rover Engineering Team

The Rover has just finished EMC testing in Toulouse!

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What the team is working on now

The flight model of the ExoMars Rover (the one that will actually go to Mars) is currently being tested in Toulouse, France. This involves making sure the Rover can survive launch and operate correctly when it gets to Mars. The tests include:

  • Acoustic noise, literally blasting the Rover with sound waves
  • Thermal cycling, taking the Rover to the hottest and coldest temperatures it will see on Mars
  • Electro-magnetic compatibility, to make sure the Rover does not interfere with the communication link to the Orbiters around Mars

We will also need to support the Rover after these tests, as it is connected to the Descent Module and Carrier Module, which will protect it during the journey to Mars and then get it down to the surface safely. Finally, when it is ready for launch, we will help get the Rover on top of the rocket (called Proton) which will blast the Rover off to Mars.

We are also starting to work on the next Rover, called Sample Fetch Rover, which forms part of a bigger mission called Mars Sample Return. As the name suggests, the goal of the mission is to bring a sample of Martian soil back to Earth, and our Rover will help collect the samples and bring them back to the Mars Ascent Vehicle which will launch the samples off the Mars surface and back to Earth.

Rover   Working   Tests

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What we’d do with the money

The ExoMars Rover is a really inspiring mission for both our engineers and the general public. We have built a STEM Centre on the side of our Mars Yard in Stevenage, which allows school children and the public to see the prototype Rovers being tested in the Mars Yard, as well as doing various educational workshops and trying out the different workstations in the Education Zone.

If we won, we would use the money to develop a new workshop in the STEM Centre using mini robots (e.g. Lego Mindstorms, BBC Microbit) to demonstrate the key parts of the ExoMars mission, such as determining the best place to drill and take a sample, and how to drive around autonomously (i.e. letting the Rover drive itself across the surface of Mars).

We hope such a workshop would be really inspiring to all our visitors, hopefully encouraging them to follow a career in one of the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths).

Tim Peake   Model

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