The Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover has completed its construction activities in the UK and will now depart to France for testing under the conditions of the Red Planet’s environment.
The final pieces of the rover’s scientific suite of instruments were attached at the Airbus Defence and Space site in Stevenage over the last weeks. The finishing touches included the ‘eyes’ of the rover: the high-resolution cameras that will provide panoramic and close-up images of the terrain that the rover will explore once on Mars in 2021.
The primary goal of the mission is to determine if there has ever been life on Mars, and to better understand the history of water on the planet. The rover will seek out interesting geological locations to examine with its scientific tools and to drill to retrieve underground samples, on a quest to tackle these questions.
As such, the rover was assembled in a sterile cleanroom under stringent cleanliness rules to avoid that organics, including traces of human life, are accidentally carried to Mars and contaminate the samples. [More at link]