The Rover, named Rosalind Franklin, uses solar panels to generate the required electrical power, and is designed to survive the cold Martian nights with the help of novel batteries and heater units.
The primary objective is to land the rover at a site with high potential for finding well-preserved organic material, particularly from the very early history of the planet.
The rover is expected to travel several kilometres during its mission.
The locomotion is achieved through six wheels. Each wheel pair is suspended on an independently pivoted bogie (the articulated assembly holding the wheel drives), and each wheel can be independently steered and driven. All wheels can be individually pivoted to adjust Rosalind Franklin’s height and angle with respect to the local surface, and to create a sort of walking ability, particularly useful in soft, non-cohesive soils like dunes. In addition, inclinometers and gyroscopes are used to enhance the motion control robustness. Finally, Sun sensors are utilised to determine the rover’s absolute attitude on the Martian surface and the direction to Earth.