British-Built Mars Rover Name Revealed

Mindy Sparks
February 9, 2019

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, a chemist, used a technique called X-ray crystallography to map the location of atoms in crystals.

The name was revealed by astronaut Tim Peake and science minister Chris Skidmore at an event in Stevenage on Thursday as part of a public competition launched in July past year.

Franklin's name was chosen from over 36,000 suggestions submitted by citizens from the European Space Agency's 22 member states.

"There were many very colourful entries - Rover McRoverface I think at one point was one of the most popular names, but of course I think Rosalind Franklin is a much more fitting tribute to a great British scientist", Maj Peake added.

The British-built Mars rover scheduled to be launched in 2020 has been named after scientist Rosalind Franklin.


"This name reminds us that it is in the human genes to explore", said ESA Director General Jan Woerner in a press release.

Cambridge-educated Franklin "helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars", UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore said at the unveiling. It will likely land in Oxia Planum, a lowland region just north of Mars's equator.

ExoMars is a joint mission from the European Space Agency and Russian space agency Roscosmos.

In addition to the core sampler, the Rosalind Franklin carries the Water Ice and Subsurface Deposit Information on Mars (WISDOM), Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars (ISEM), Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies (Ma-Miss), the Close-Up Imager (CLUPI), and the Pasteur Instrument Suite.

The Rosalind Franklin is being developed and built by Airbus Defense and Space. The ambition is for the United Kingdom be the world's most innovative economy - and the development of the ExoMars rover for the United Kingdom is a part of this ambition. In 1952, the x-ray crystallographer took an image nicknamed Photo 51 that was crucial evidence in the discovery that DNA has a double helix structure. Furthermore, archives also revealed in 2008 that she was not even nominated. Her data was a part of the data used to formulate Crick and Watson's 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA.

Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958, at age 37, without receiving the public recognition for her work in DNA that would be heaped on her male peers. Her contribution was not recognised in many science books until the 1990s. It's main aim would be to examine the surface of Mars for evidence of past life-supporting environments.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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