The ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover Astrobiology Mission

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
December 13, 2023
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The ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover Astrobiology Mission
ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover — ESA

In 2028, ESA will launch its most ambitious exploration mission to search for past and present signs of life on Mars.

Enjoy the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin mission in minute detail – everything down to the colour and size of the wires, sticky tape and scratches. The spacecraft, the rover and martian landscapes are as true to reality as possible for a simulation. The visuals show the spacecraft structural engineering with a faithful robotic appearance. The martian landscape has been simulated with meticulous realism.

The story begins with the rover exploring the surface of the Red Planet. There is science to be done. Join the adventure.

This trailer provides a first taste for the most accurate animation series made so far of a Mars mission.

ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover has unique scientific potential to search for evidence of past life on Mars thanks to its drill and scientific instruments. It will be the first rover to reach a depth of up to two metres deep below the surface, acquiring samples that have been protected from surface radiation and extreme temperatures. The drill will retrieve soils from ancient parts of Mars and analyse them in situ with its onboard laboratory.

The mission will also serve to demonstrate key technologies that Europe needs to master for future planetary exploration missions. This includes the capability to land safely on a planet, to move autonomously on the surface, and to perform drilling and sample processing and analysis automatically. The rover will use novel driving techniques including wheel-walking to overcome difficult terrains, as well as autonomous navigation software.

Check ESA’s ExoMars website and our frequently asked questions for the latest updates.


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻