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'Marsy McMarsface': What would you call new rover?

'Marsy McMarsface': What would you call new rover?

Technology
The European Space Agency is looking for a name for its new Mars rover which will land on the red planet in 2021. Launching in 2020, the rover is currently named ExoMars, but the team behind the mission are looking for a more suitable name to engage the public.Firing a starter pistol on the race to find an alternative, British astronaut Tim Peake told the Farnborough Airshow: "Mars is a fascinating destination."A place where humans will one day work alongside robots to gather new knowledge and search for life in our solar system."The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration and we're asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the Martian surface."The UK is the second largest European contributor to the ExoMars m...
Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks

Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks

Science
UK engineers will design a robot that can retrieve rock samples on Mars so they can be sent to Earth for study. The European Space Agency is issuing contracts to industry to spec the technology needed for what will be a complex joint undertaking with the US. Aerospace giant Airbus will scope the concept for a surface "fetch rover" at its Stevenage centre north of London. Esa and the American space agency (Nasa) expect to send the sample-return equipment to the Red Planet in 2026. "It will be a relatively small rover - about 130kg; but the requirements are very demanding," said Ben Boyes who will lead the feasibility team at Airbus. "The vehicle will have to cover large distances using a high degree of autonomy, planning its own p...
No-deal Brexit threatens Jaguar Land Rover UK future

No-deal Brexit threatens Jaguar Land Rover UK future

Business
UK plants and at least 40,000 jobs are at risk if the country leaves the European Union without a free trade deal, Britain's biggest carmaker has warned. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has told the government that, while its "heart and soul" are in the UK, a bad Brexit could force a re-think, with a "no-deal" scenario forcing it out of the UK because of an expected £1.2bn surge in tariff costs.JLR exports 80% of its cars worth £18bn annually.Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive of JLR, said: "We, and our partners in the supply chain, face an unpredictable future if the Brexit negotiations do not maintain free and frictionless trade with the EU and unrestricted access to the single market."We urgently need greater certainty to continue to invest heavily in the UK and safeguard ...
Rover test: What's it like to ride a rocket to Mars?

Rover test: What's it like to ride a rocket to Mars?

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device So, if you spend a billion euros on a space mission, you better be sure it can survive the rocket ride off Earth. This video shows a model of Europe's upcoming Mars rover being shaken to simulate the violent first few minutes of flight on leaving the launch pad. ExoMars, as it is known, is a joint project with Russia to put a mobile laboratory on the surface of the Red Planet in 2021. The hi-tech rover will look for signs of past or present life. Europe's Mars rover takes shape Curiosity sees Mars methane swing The vehicle pictured being put through a shake test at Airbus in Toulouse, France, is what is called a Structural Thermal Model, or STM. It is a near-exact copy of the rover that will eventu...
Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm'

Science
The American space agency says it is concerned but hopeful that its veteran robot rover on Mars can survive a big dust storm on the planet. The 15-year-old vehicle, known as Opportunity, has gone into an emergency mode because there is not enough sunlight reaching its solar panels to power onboard systems. All contact was lost at the weekend.The only function likely running off the batteries currently is a clock.The expectation is that the robot is using this timepiece to wake itself periodically to check whether skies have cleared."It is concerning; this team has a very strong bond with the rover," said John Callas, the Opportunity project manager at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."We anthropomorphise this rover; we have a tig...