“The ExoMars Rover, developed by ESA, provides key mission capabilities: surface mobility, subsurface drilling and automatic sample collection, processing, and distribution to instruments. It hosts a suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geochemistry research: this is the Pasteur payload.
The Rover uses solar panels to generate the required electrical power, and is designed to survive the cold Martian nights with the help of novel batteries and heater units. Due to the infrequent communication opportunities, only 1 or 2 short sessions per sol (Martian day), the ExoMars Rover is highly autonomous. Scientists on Earth will designate target destinations on the basis of compressed stereo images acquired by the cameras mounted on the Rover mast.
The Rover must then calculate navigation solutions and safely travel approximately 100 m per sol. To achieve this, it creates digital maps from navigation stereo cameras and computes a suitable trajectory. Close-up collision avoidance cameras are used to ensure safety.
The locomotion is achieved through six wheels. Each wheel pair is suspended on an independently pivoted bogie (the articulated assembly holding the wheel drives), and each wheel can be independently steered and driven. All wheels can be individually pivoted to adjust the Rover ...