Airbus to design new Mars rover

The European Space Agency (ESA) has granted Airbus a $5.2-million contract to design a new Mars rover.

Airbus in Stevenage, England will design a rover aimed at collecting Martian soil samples and returning them to Earth.

The rover will be designed to collect soil sample canisters left behind by NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, and will have to detect these canisters and place them in its storage space after driving to them autonomously.

It will then have to return to the rocket which transported it to the planet, move the canisters into it, and film the rocket as it takes off from the surface.

The lander rocket will then rendezvous with the orbiter module above Mars and return the samples to Earth.

Airbus is no stranger to rover designs and is already building the ExoMars rover, which is set to launch to Mars in 2021 and collect data from the planet.

A concept image of the rover designed by Airbus is below.

Airbus fetch rover

Now read: Opportunity rover goes dark during Mars dust storm

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Airbus to design new Mars rover