As part of the ExoMars program, the European Space Agency plans to send its own robots to Mars to explore rock samples for another decade. Two prototypes of such machines have just been shown, which will soon be tested to prove their usefulness.
The prototypes are called Bridget and Bryan, and soon they will start testing in the center of Airbus Mars Yard in British Hertfordshire. These are not typical Martian roaches like the Curiosity, but they have very similar drilling equipment, allowing the sampling of rocks that will then be sent back to Earth.
Bryan’s equipment will allow him to drill 180 feet deep, where scientists hope to find evidence of the existence of water. But before that happens, the samples will be tested in an on-board lab capable of detecting microscopic traces of life. Only then can they begin the transfer operation.Tweet