ExoMars rover concept is a star attraction at ILA2006 Space Pavilion

May 18, 2006
ExoMars rover concept is a star attraction at ILA2006 Space Pavilion
At the International Aerospace Exhibition and Conference (ILA) in Berlin, May 2006, a new ‘International Space Village’ within groups together space agencies and industry from around the world. In the space pavilion Europe's highly ambitious Aurora programme for the future exploration of Mars and the solar system is featured, including the ExoMars rover. Credits: ESA-M. PEDOUSSAUT

One of the attractions at the ILA2006 Space Pavilion is the full-scale ExoMars rover mock-up based on an artist's impression of Europe’s next mission to Mars and the first robotic mission with the European Space Exploration Programme Aurora.

The large rover and its deployment on the surface of Mars are probably the most challenging elements of the ExoMars mission, currently slated for launch in 2011, which will search for traces of life on and underneath the surface of Mars. The rover will carry a payload, dubbed Pasteur, and will be equipped with a drilling system that will reach up to two metres below the Martian surface.

Through the mock-up and accompanying background animation the many visitors to ILA2006 could gain an appreciation of the different mission phases, the rover surface operations, as well as the rover's expected size.

While an artist's view was used to produce both the rover and its animated graphics, European industry is gearing up to design and manufacture the real thing after having conducted conceptual studies (Phase A) both for the mission and for the rover as one of the mission elements.

The ExoMars mission, under the prime contractorship of Alcatel Alenia Space in Turin, is currently in its preliminary design (B1) phase. The design and manufacturing of major mission elements, such the Carrier, the Descent module and, of course, the Rover will be awarded, in compliance with ESA procurement rules, to European and Canadian companies through devoted Invitation to Tender that will be issued in the coming weeks by the prime contractor, Alcatel Alenia Space.

ExoMars is one of the components of ESA’s Aurora Space Exploration Programme, which is an optional programme under the remit of the Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration. Italy is the country with the largest contribution to the ExoMars mission, among the 14 countries supporting the mission, followed by the Great Britain, France and Germany.


Contract allocation will reflect industrial expertise as well as the level of national contribution - a subject which has fuelled intense discussions among Participating States. No final decision however has been taken with respect to which element will be awarded to whom, even though, given the level of contribution, the available expertise and the consensus among participants, certain decisions can be reasonably anticipated especially at system design and integration level. The design and building of actual hardware is mostly open to competition among industry of all Participating States.

European industry is readying itself for the upcoming challenge to design and build a rover. This activity is a good sign of Europe’s commitment and confidence to be able to land on Mars at the beginning of the next decade and further our knowledge of the Red Planet especially with respect to its biological features.

The final configuration of the ExoMars rover, and of the other elements, remains today, however, still to be defined in particular as far as the contribution of each country and its industries is concerned.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Zapping away space junk

Related Stories

UA-led HiRISE camera spots long-lost space probe on Mars

Jan 16, 2015

The UK-led Beagle 2 Mars Lander, thought lost on Mars since 2003, has been found partially deployed on the surface of the planet, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission more than a decade ago. ...

Recommended for you

Zapping away space junk

41 minutes ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

2 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

Sentinel-2A arrives in French Guiana for 12 June launch

2 hours ago

The latest satellite for the European Commission's environmental Copernicus programme has arrived safe and sound in French Guiana for launch on 12 June. Carrying a multispectral imager, Sentinel-2A is set ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.