ExoMars – Testing locomotion


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

Credits: ESA

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  1. Thank you for the video, these wheels are an amazing piece of engineering. And it is also great to see (hear) people from different countries working together on something like this. How much could we accomplish, if we would all work together on our challenges like this?

  2. I was thinking just then: surely compressible wheels would defeat the point of a wheel, and that caterpillar tracks would be more ideal because they have a massive contact area, but then realised that they probably would waste a lot of space and add unnecessary weight, plus if a track comes off it'll be impossible to fix. This looks brilliant. Always interested to see what advances we are making in design solutions.

  3. Gee, I hate to have to inform this woman, but US Mars rovers have been rolling on wheels across the Martian surface since the early 2000's. Just saying.

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