News

Join the ExoMars Rover Zone evening live chat – tonight from 7-8pm!

Log in at any time between 7 and 8pm to CHAT to the engineers in the ExoMars Rover Zone! Come along to learn more about the ExoMars missions and the engineers working on them, in the next of our after-school live chats in the ExoMars Rover Zone. Just log in and head to the CHAT page from 7pm! How to join the evening chat Log in to the ExoMars Rover Zone Click the CHAT icon Start asking your questions! See you tonight! ModJen and the ExoMars Rover Zone team

Posted on March 19, 2020 by in News | Leave a comment

What the Planetary Science Team has been up to in February

The process of studying the landing site for the Rosalind Franklin rover, Oxia Planum, has continued apace throughout February. Over at the University of Leicester, Adam and John have been continuing with two strands of research. The current focus is improving the current mapping of the clay at the landing site via use of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), a camera on the Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft orbiting above Mars right now. This is crucial as clay forms in the presence of water and is an excellent material to preserve bio-signatures (evidence of past life including micro-fossils as well as the remains of an organism’s diet) in; if life ever existed at Oxia Planum, its remains would likely have been preserved within this clay unit. The other research strand is a comparison of fractured terrain between Oxia Planum and Gale Crater. We’re doing this in order to … Continue reading

Posted on March 12, 2020 by in News | Leave a comment

What the PanCam Team have been up to in February

Craig: “As reported previously, we’ve been working on calibrating the flight spare model, and that work is almost complete. Calibrating and characterising the instrument before flight allows scientists and engineers to understand how the cameras and electronics behave under a variety of conditions (for example, different temperatures or lighting angles). By knowing how the camera behaves on Earth gives us insight into how it will behave on Mars. This is important for getting the best scientific use. Is that red dirt really red? Is that rock really a clay, and if so can we figure out which minerals are in it? Our other engineering work is important, but less exciting — making sure that ESA have all the documents required to show PanCam was built as planned and working as expected. The science team has been looking at the best ways to map the site on Mars where we’ll be … Continue reading

Posted on March 12, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment

What the Engineering Team have been up to in February

Alex: “February 2020 has been very busy for the Engineering Team! We finalised the last of the shipments of equipment from our 5 months in Toulouse and received it all back in Stevenage, UK. February has seen the Mechanical Assembly Integration and Test (AIT) Team undertaking drilling trials on the engineering and qualification model (EQM) model of the Solar Array in preparation for some Solar Array hinge repairs planned on the flight model in Turin in April. We have had to design and build special jigs and clamps, trial different methods of preparing the work area to maintain biologically Sterile hardware, trial methods of grinding/drilling through the multiple materials that the Solar Array is made from in such a way that the critical alignment of the components is maintained. We also had to undertake a mini Vibration Campaign during this activity to measure how much force and vibration is being … Continue reading

Posted on March 6, 2020 by in News | Leave a comment

What the ESA Project Systems Team have been up to in February

We have completed the first part of the Delivery Review Board (a bit like an exam board for the build and testing of the Rover!) and our Rosalind Franklin Rover has arrived in Cannes, France, after a short road trip from the test site in Toulouse. The Rover has been taken out of its Bio-controlled travel container (which kept it clean and sterile during the Transport between cleanrooms) and we have tested it to make sure nothing happened during the Transport. We are preparing to Integrate the Rover on to the Lander Platform in the coming few weeks. Once this is done, the Rover and Lander Platform will be electrical tested (to make sure everything works correctly when connected to each other), as well as Platform and then Spacecraft balancing. This is important for the Descent and Landing Dynamics- a bit like balancing a car wheel so that it doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted on March 5, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment

Join the ExoMars Rover Zone evening live chat – tonight from 7-8pm!

Log in at any time between 7 and 8pm to CHAT to the engineers in the ExoMars Rover Zone! Come along to learn more about the ExoMars missions and the engineers working on them, in the next of our after-school live chats in the ExoMars Rover Zone. Just log in and head to the CHAT page from 7pm! How to join the evening chat Log in to the ExoMars Rover Zone Click the CHAT icon Start asking your questions! See you tonight! ModJen and the ExoMars Rover Zone team

Posted on February 27, 2020 by in News | Leave a comment

What the teams got up to in January

Each month between now and July, the teams in the ExoMars Rover Zone will be updating you on what they’ve been doing, and how the mission is progressing. Follow the links below to read the first monthly update from each of the teams Have you voted yet? Which team do you think should get the £500 prize to engage more people with their work? VOTE for the team you want to win! What the Engineering Team has been up to… This past month the team members still working on ExoMars have been finishing the testing and verification stages for the rover. Some team members have started to move to new projects, in particular the “Sample Fetch Rover” mission… read more What the Planetary Science Team has been up to… The Planetary Science team has started organising activities for the Royal Society Summer Exhibition all about ExoMars. This will take place at the … Continue reading

Posted on February 18, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment

What the PanCam team has been up to in January…

We build various versions of our instruments.  As the name suggests, the PanCam “flight model” is the one that will fly to Mars.  It has already been mounted to the rover. The rover, PanCam, and other instruments are all being tested together so we can be sure they will survive the launch, trip, and landing, and also that they’ll be able to talk to each other, and will collect and return data from Mars — in the case of PanCam, that means colour 3D images. The “flight spare” is the spare instrument.  It’s a duplicate of the flight model and is being tested at its home, the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), in Surrey, not far from Guildford.  We want to make sure all the cameras and electronics are working as expected. In case anything goes wrong with the flight model (not expected!), the flight spare could sent instead.  However, … Continue reading

Posted on February 18, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment

What the Planetary Science Team has been up to in January…

The Planetary Science team has started organising activities for the Royal Society Summer Exhibition all about ExoMars. This will take place at the Royal Society in London from 6th-12th July, just a few weeks before the launch window opens on July 23rd. We will have a full size accurate model of the rover and so can show everyone the different instruments. One of the instruments – the Raman laser spectrometer – was largely designed at the University of Leicester and we will have an interactive demonstrator tool to show how we will use it to analyses drilled rocks at the ExoMars landing site. We are hoping for over 12,000 visitors! Want to know more? ASK us a question ❯

Posted on February 17, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment

What the Engineering Team have been up to in January

This past month the team members still working on ExoMars have been finishing the testing and verification stages for the rover. Some team members have started to move to new projects, in particular the “Sample Fetch Rover” mission. To find out more, you can read these stories on the BBC: ‘Rosalind Franklin’: Europe’s Mars rover heads for fit checks Sample Fetch Rover: Mars rover aims to grab a piece of history Scientific American also has a more detailed story about the whole Mars Sample Return Programme. Here is what each of the team members are working on: Paul M: “I started the month in Toulouse, supporting the deployments of the Rover’s mast, solar arrays and locomotion system, as well as the alignment testing, where we fire a laser at mirror cubes to determine exactly where the different cameras and sensors are pointing now they are installed. Since returning to the … Continue reading

Posted on February 14, 2020 by in News, Team updates | Leave a comment