Research

European rover will be named after the chemist Rosalind Franklin

The next European rover, the launch of whichscheduled for next year, will be named after the famous scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose work led to the discovery of the structure of DNA. Last July, the UK space agency announced a competition for the name of the rover, which is scheduled to launch in 2020 as part of the current ExoMars mission. People from all over the European Union submitted 36,000 names for review and a group of experts chose Rosalind Franklin.

Rosalind Franklin will fly to Mars

In 1953, the British chemist Franklin madeX-ray DNA strand, providing the first visual confirmation of its double helix structure. She died only five years later, at the age of 37. For many years, her contribution to science has been ignored, but the situation has gradually changed, and now her name is decorated with an asteroid and many buildings and awards.

"In the last year of Rosalind, I remember howI visited her at the hospital on the day when she was excited about the news about the Soviet satellite — the very beginning of space exploration, ”says sister Franklin, Jennifer Glynn. "She could not imagine that in 60 years a rover with her name would be sent to Mars, but this somehow makes this project even more special."

The ExoMars mission is managed by the EuropeanSpace Agency (ESA) and Roskkosmos. Initially, it was assumed that ExoMars would consist of three parts: the orbiter, this rover and the Schiaparelli descent module, named after the Italian astronomer. The lander and orbiter together went to Mars in 2016, paving the way for the rover, which will follow later. But, unfortunately, the trip of the ship to Mars did not end very well. The orbiter went into the orbit of Mars, but Schiaparelli crashed into the surface of the Red Planet, which was probably caused by a software error.

The agency hopes that the mission “RosalindFranklin will be more successful. A six-wheeled solar-powered rover is currently being built in the UK. The rover will be able to move over rough terrain and will be equipped for drilling up to three meters below the surface. He will also have cameras, a radar and an onboard laboratory for analyzing rock samples, in particular, for signs of life on Mars.

If all goes well with the launch of 2020, Rosalind Franklin will land on Mars in 2021.

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