The European Space Agency’s Mars rover has passed all its tests, making it ready for launch in September.
The Rosalind Franklin rover, built by Airbus in the UK, has some ‘minor tuning’ left but will be ready to search for signs of life on Mars in the near future.
Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, Sue Horne said: “The Rosalind Franklin rover showcases some of the best of the UK’s space sector and its search for signs of life on Mars will inspire future generations of scientists and engineers.
“It’s very exciting to see this flagship mission pass the latest tests and see the fruition of many years’ hard work as we look forward to the launch later this year.”
The University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory led the work on the rover’s high-resolution 3D camera, known as PanCam, which will look at the terrain and rocks to try to detect signs of life.
Following a final review in April, all the components of the spacecraft will move to its launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
A twin of the rover, known as Amalia – named after the first woman to graduate aeronautical engineering in Italy, Amalia Ercoli Finzi – has already successfully navigated a Mars terrain simulator in recent tests.
Engineers will continue to use the Amalia rover to recreate different scenarios which will help keep the Rosalind rover safe in Mars’ often harsh environment.