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About the ExoMars mission

ExoMars is a programme of space missions designed by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos to try and find out if life ever existed on the planet Mars, and to test new technologies that could be used in a possible future robotic return mission to Mars. The UK Space Agency has been a major partner in the programme. 

Already, the Trace Gas Orbiter satellite has been in orbit around Mars for the past three years, investigating gases in the Martian atmosphere that exist in very small amounts, such as methane. The next stage, due to launch in late 2020, is to send a robotic rover to explore the surface of Mars.

The Rover

The rover has been named Rosalind Franklin after the chemist whose work lead to the discovery of the physical structure of DNA. Once safely on the Martian surface, the rover will drill down into the rock to dig up samples. These are transferred to the rover’s onboard science laboratory to look closer at their physical and chemical properties. 

A mission like this takes years of hard work by many dedicated teams of people. Find out more about ExoMars on the ESA website.