The ExoMars mission will see Rosalind Franklin the rover and its surface platform Kazachok land on the Red Planet in 2021. From fine-grained soil to large boulders and slopes, the rover has to be able to move across many types of terrain, collect samples with a 2 m-long drill and analyse them with instruments in its onboard laboratory.
This first episode about Exomars gives an introduction to the challenges of manoeuvring the landscape.
A hydraulic platform filled with 20 tonnes of soil was made for the tests at RUAG Space in Zurich, Switzerland. The facility emulates all terrain conditions that Rosalind the rover is expected to encounter on Mars: different types of soil, various obstacle shapes and sizes and terrain slopes.
ESA, Roscosmos, Thales, Airbus and RUAG engineers put a full-sized model through a series of tests to fine-tune how the rover will move from its landing platform onto the martian terrain.
The tests will also develop strategies to ensure Rosalind the rover does not get stuck in martian sand or on rocks.
The six-wheeled vehicle is expected to travel several kilometres during its mission.
More information on ExoMars: www.esa.int/exomars