Another UK-Assembled Rover To Mars Has Been Binned

3rd Aug 2022
Another UK-Assembled Rover To Mars Has Been Binned

European and US space agencies have binned another plan to send a UK-assembled rover to Mars. 

A blow to the UK space sector, the vehicle was going to play a pivotal role in getting rock samples from Mars back to Earth so that they could be studied in laboratories for indications of life.

Airbus UK are determined the make sure that all of their efforts and investment in the rover do not go to waste.

The project is still going to go ahead, but without the UK’s robot

The project is still commencing. However, American drones are going to be used in place of the British-built robot. The reason for this is to lower the cost and risk in what is a complicated mission. 

Airbus UK, which had invested in a new, ultra-clean production facility, in Stevenage, issued the following statement:

“We are very disappointed that after all the hard work on developing the Mars sample fetch rover that the programme has been cancelled.

“With the skills and expertise built up on interplanetary rovers over the last 20 years, Airbus is determined to ensure this surface mobility capability, that could also be used on the Moon, is maintained for the UK space sector.”

Ensuring the work does not go to waste

There is the possibility that all of the work carried out in Stevenage by Airbus UK could be re-purposed. 

ESA has put forward a proposal to European research ministers to fund a large freighter that can deliver payloads and cargo, including roving vehicles, to the Moon, beginning at the close of this decade. 

Speaking about this, Francois Spoto, the agency’s head of Mars exploration, stated the following:

“We are going to study with Airbus UK how to redirect the know-how that has been developed in order to see how it could be targeted at another planet.”

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