European Mars Rover Named for Crystal Scientist Rosalind Franklin

Postado Fevereiro 09, 2019

She died in 1958, at the age of 37.

Rosalind Franklin was a British physicist, biophysicist, chemist, X-ray crystallographer, and biologist who contributed to the understanding of DNA, RNA, coal, viruses, and graphite.

The British-built Mars rover scheduled to be launched in 2020 has been named after scientist Rosalind Franklin.

Franklin's contribution to their research remained largely overlooked in science books until the 1990s. A panel of experts selected the name and revealed it at a ceremony at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Stevenage, United Kingdom, where engineers now are building the rover.

In order to name the Franklin rover, which is part of the ExoMars series of missions and will succeed a failed lander called Schiaparelli, ESA pored through suggestions from 36,000 people.

British astronaut Tim Peake poses with a working prototype of the Rosalind Franklin ExoMars Rover following its naming ceremony at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Stevenage, February 7, 2019.

In addition to the core sampler, the Rosalind Franklin carries the Water Ice and Subsurface Deposit Information on Mars (WISDOM), Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars (ISEM), Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies (Ma-Miss), the Close-Up Imager (CLUPI), and the Pasteur Instrument Suite. The six-wheeled rover is expected to drill into the surface of Mars in its search for past and present alien life on Mars.

"The European Space Agency is a real asset to the work - the United Kingdom is a proud founding member and will remain committed into the future", he said. Nobel Prizes can not be awarded posthumously, but it's unclear if Franklin would have been given credit at the time, anyway. The 2020 mission of the ExoMars program will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars. It will also assist in preparing for other robotic missions, including a Mars Sample Return mission, and possible future human exploration. The region contains clay-rich minerals and has preserved its wet geologic history, making it a prime location for the rover to search for evidence of current and past life.

It will use solar power to drive around with the help of optic sensors.

What the Rosalind rover will look like on Mars.

Data will be sent up to the ESA's orbiting Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft, which is hunting for both geological and biological signs of activity by measuring gasses in the Martian atmosphere.

And the University of Leicester in England worked on Rosalind's electronics and data processing panel.