The ExoMars rover’s Analytical Laboratory Drawer (ALD) was integrated into the rover at Airbus, Stevenage, UK in May 2019. The video is shown at 18 times real speed; in reality the sequence of events took around 11.5 minutes.
The ExoMars rover, named Rosalind Franklin, will be the first of its kind to both roam the Mars surface and to study it at depth. Rosalind Franklin will drill down to two metres into the surface to sample the soil, analyse its composition and search for evidence of past – and perhaps even present – life hidden underground. A miniature laboratory inside the rover – the ALD – will analyse the samples with three different instruments, with some baked in the onboard oven to release gases for analysis, a technique used to search for traces of organic compounds.
The rover will relay its data back to Earth via the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is already conducting its science mission from Mars orbit.
The ExoMars programme is a joint endeavour between ESA and Roscosmos.