Science

Name of UK-built Mars rover revealed

Name of UK-built Mars rover revealed”

Franklin captured structural images of substances like viruses and coal, as well as the crucial biological compounds DNA and RNA, which both carry genetic information.

Franklin was a biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer.

"Just as Rosalind Franklin overcame many obstacles during her career, I hope "Rosalind the Rover" will successfully persevere in this exciting adventure, inspiring generations of female scientists and engineers to come", said Skidmore.

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced today (7 February) that its rover for the upcoming ExoMars mission will be named Rosalind, after Rosalind Elsie Franklin. Now, ESA honored Rosalind Franklin by naming its next Mars Rover after her.

A panel of experts has chosen Rosalind Franklin as the name for the European Space Agency's (ESA)'s upcoming Mars rover, which is now expected to begin exploring the Red Planet in 2021. Once on the surface of the Red Planet, the Rosalind Franklin rover will be tasked with searching for the building blocks of life.

"This name reminds us that it is in the human genes to explore", ESA director general Jan Wörner said in a statement. European Space Agency astronaut Time Peake stood alongside Skidmore at the event, which was held in the "Mars Yard" testing ground at Airbus Defence and Space's facilities in Stevenage, England.

ExoMars is a joint mission between ESA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Alice Bunn, global director at the UK Space Agency, said: "Rosalind Franklin is one of science's most influential women, and her part in the discovery of the structure of DNA was truly ground-breaking". The team already has an orbiter in residence at the Red Planet.

James Watson and Francis Crick used her research without permission and with little credit when publishing their model of the structure of DNA in 1953. Whilst Dr. Franklin contributed greatly to a number of disciplines, she is best known for her part in unraveling the double helix structure of our DNA.

Artist's impression of the ExoMars rover and surface platform on the surface of Mars.

Crick, Watson, and Maurice Wilkins received the 1962 Nobel Prize for their work, but since Franklin died of cancer in 1958 at the age of 37, she could not be considered for the award. Her contribution was not recognised in many science books until the 1990s.

Its mission is to roam the surface and drill down two meters into the surface to analyze soil composition in a search for past or present signs of life.



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