ESA’s ExoMars rover (foreground) and Russia’s stationary surface science platform (background) are scheduled for launch in July 2020, arriving at Mars in March 2021. Image Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
The European Space Agency announced Feb. 7 that its ExoMars rover will be named Rosalind Franklin. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch along with a Russian stationary surface science platform in July 2020, arriving at the Red Planet, if all goes well, in March 2021.
Chosen by a panel of experts, the name was one of over 36,000 entries submitted by citizens of all 22 ESA member states. The winning name was revealed in the “Mars Yard” of Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, United Kingdom.
“This rover will scout the Martian surface equipped with next-generation instruments—a fully-fledged automated laboratory on Mars,” said ESA astronaut Tim Peake in a news release. “With it, we are building on our European heritage in robotic exploration, and at the same time devising new technologies.”
Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-1958) was a British chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was essential to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite. The selection of her name for the ExoMars rover follows a long ...