• Question: Who was responsible for designing the rover?

    Asked by _-^【𝔇arina】^-_ on 17 Feb 2020.
    • Photo: Peter Fawdon

      Peter Fawdon answered on 17 Feb 2020:

      The Team at Airbus Designed most of the rover, but each of the instruments where designed by science teams that are going to use the data from them. So PanCam, which is in many ways the eyes of the rover, was mostly designed scientists and engineers at The Mullards Space Science laboratory and the University of Aberystwyth.

      Check out
      @ExoMarsPanCam on twitter

    • Photo: Abbie Hutty

      Abbie Hutty answered on 20 Feb 2020:

      It’s really a joint effort by a lot of people! There was an early study team who came up with the basic design, like the rough size, the way it would drive (6 wheels on bogie pivots) what it would have on board (therefore how much it had to carry) and so how much power it would need, and so on.

      Then the larger team picked up that design and studied it in detail and changed the sizes and shapes and materials and things to make sure it would be strong enough, and as light as possible, and would survive the extremes heats and environment and things. So everyone “left their mark” on the overall rover during that process, making the changes they had to to make it work, but overall it still looks similar to the concept design. So there are probably 250 people or so in those teams combined.

      And that’s not including all the instruments and things, which are still part of the “rover”, so they all count too. We once estimated that 1000 people had worked on the mission in total, including the teams working on the rocket and cruise module and descent module that are used to get the rover safely down to the ground on Mars.

      When you say “responsible” we actually use that term in a special way in engineering, to mean the person who has the final authority for decisions made about the design, which would be the engineering manager at ESA. Normally they don’t get involved with all the small details and just leave those up to the teams directly working on them, but if there was ever a big problem that those teams couldn’t solve, or that was going to make a big difference to the rover, they would be the one that was “responsible” for saying whether that was ok or not.