Name Europe’s Mars Rover Competition

ESA’s Exo Mars Rover (Credit: ESA)

FARNBOROUGH, UK — 20 July 2018 (ESA PR) — The UK Space Agency has launched a competition to name a rover that is going to Mars to search for signs of life.Due to launch in 2020, the UK-built rover is part of ESA’s ExoMars mission. It will investigate how Mars has evolved and whether there may be conditions for life.

The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the martian surface and drill down to determine if evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the Sun’s radiation that bombards the surface of the ‘Red Planet’.

The rover will collect samples and analyse them with next-generation instruments – a fully fledged automated laboratory on Mars.

The competition to name the rover was unveiled by ESA astronaut Tim Peake at the Farnborough International Airshow today.

“Mars is a fascinating destination, a place where humans will one day work alongside robots to gather new knowledge and search for life in our Solar System,” says Tim. “The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration and we are asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the martian surface.”

The rover is due to land on Mars in March 2021 and will use solar panels to generate electrical power, surviving the cold martian nights with novel batteries and heater units.

ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth.

Another part of the ExoMars mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter, is already orbiting Mars, looking for atmospheric gases linked to active geological or biological processes.

ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker says, “When I was young and dreamed of Mars exploration, this mission would have been science fiction.

“The ExoMars missions are part of Europe’s strategy to develop technology and explore around Earth, the Moon and Mars – to investigate and bring back knowledge and benefits to people on Earth. This competition is bound to inspire many across Europe and bring the Red Planet closer to home.”

For the full terms and conditions and how to enter click here.

  • windbourne

    I wish that Europe would get smart about this and do a SIMPLE lander on mars first, and then start building up to more elaborate scientific missions.
    In fact, even with this one, they could send another rocket 7 months ahead of this one, which has a SIMPLE lander, with no rover, and instead just do weather, perhaps communications, etc, and make sure that it lands. Once it lands successfully, then launch the second real missions.

    Mars is well known for eating landers.

  • therealdmt

    Landy McLanderface

  • redneck

    7 months ahead for a precursor lander. Interesting to see how the launch windows feel about that scheme.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    The era of Delta II Mars missions have ended.

    No need for specific launch window to Mars if you have sufficient excess Delta-V. A small and simple lander mission could be really cheap if you have a relatively inexpensive launcher with said excess Delta-V. I believe there is a current commercial launch provider offering a launch vehicle that have excess Delta-V.

  • redneck

    During the good windows you could send a heavy, simple, and robust lander for the same IMLEO. When triple the mass is available for the same function and budget, it becomes possible to use many standard parts that aren’t engineered to within an inch of their lives. A standard 1/2″ bolt is considerably cheaper than one custom engineered, built, and QC tested at 0.382″. Stronger too. Use the saved engineering/testing/documenting– hours/dollars to build three more ships if you want redundancy.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    You concept is not that workable with the current landing methods used by NASA & ESA. There is a maximum lander mass limit of about 375 kg or using the US Skycrane landing system about 900 kg.

  • redneck

    I’m sorry. I thought you wanted serious work done there. I have little respect for staying with current landing concepts of NASA/ESA. Those landing masses are a joke for anyone that is thinking about getting real work done.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    What landing masses on Mars are you thinking of?

    Until the folks from Hawthorne get their Mars lander operational, that is all that is available. And those methods have reach about the maximum amount of landed mass they can deployed on the Martian surface with atmospheric braking and supersonic parachute plus what ever terminal deceleration scheme.

  • mlc449