back to article Brit-built trundlebot eyeing up a July 2020 launch as cams fitted to ExoMars mission rover

While ESA continues to grapple with balky parachutes ahead of the ExoMars 2020 mission, the cameras for the Rosalind Franklin rover have been fitted to the British-built trundlebot. The "PanCam", which sits on top of a mast that rises two metres above the ground, is designed to provide Earthbound boffins with 3D stereo imagery …

  1. stuartnz

    Petunias, anyone?

    "Otherwise the only thing those optics will encounter is the ground. Terribly, terribly fast." (Since we were ALL thinking it).

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Petunias, anyone?

      I wonder if it will be friendly?

      (yes, we were)

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Petunias, anyone?

        maybe attach the cameras to a bowl of petunias - if they can be trained.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope they have a solar cell panel cleaner this time

    The two Mars rovers that went before this all had problems with dust accumulating on the panels and reducing power. I hope this rover has automatic panel cleaning built it. Who knows, it might last a long, long time.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I hope they have a solar cell panel cleaner this time

      Both Spirit and Opportunity found much less problems with dust than anyone was expecting, because the wind kept blowing it off.

  3. Christoph

    "Otherwise the only thing those optics will encounter is the ground. Terribly, terribly fast. "

    Oh no, not again!

  4. Denarius Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    please, please

    for once, DONT rush this probe. It might not drop very fast then. It would be nice for Europe to get something working on Mars. When the yanks finish imploding I suspect the rising powers may not be that interested any more in space exploration. Aside from that, I wonder if Europe would consider a lander for Europa after the proposed NASA lander has done its research. Sort of appropriate.

  5. 0laf Silver badge

    I like the term "lithobraking".

    It implies it was deliberate.

    However I'd much rather the probe landed safe and sound. Yay Science

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We checked in with ESA to see how things were going with the parachutes following the test failures earlier this month and were told by a spokesperson: "We are fast, but not that fast."

    "fast but not that fast" sounds like a textbook definition of a parachute to me

  7. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Got to see the test rig..

    At Bluedot festival this year (to scale model but with an amusingly placed emergency stop button on the back).

    Fascinating bit of kit for the 3D cameras and even better with the colour cam since they'll be taking a true colour calibration chart to make sure that the colours are as accurate as possible (unlike the American method of just using the stars and stripes as a calibration tool *sigh*).

    Proper pragmatic boffinry and well deserving of a pint.

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