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Mars: The box wants to answer the biggest question



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Media Title Delicate Operation: ALD Drops Into the Rim

Is It Possible? Is there life on Mars? Since the Mariner 4 probe has made the first successful visit to the Red Planet – a flight in July 1965 – we have sent a series of missions that have given us all interesting information about the nearest neighbor on Earth ̵

1; but not the answer to the only question that really matters.

So see the technology that can finally change the game.

This is an analytical lab drawer or ALD – a sophisticated three-in-one toolbox that will test rock samples for chemical fingerprints from biology.

On Thursday, it was slightly lifted by a crane and dropped into the ExoMars' Rosalind Franklin, a sixth wheel that would take it across the plane of Oxya on Mars in 2021. developed jointly by European and Russian space agencies, will have a drill that can dig up to 2 meters below the dusty surface of the planet.

The tailings pond drawn from this tool will be passed through a door to the ALD where the various mechanisms inside will crush and prepare powders that can be put into small glasses for analysis.

This will be a judicial study examining all aspects of the composition of the samples.

All previous rovers have surrounded the big question. In essence, they only asked whether the conditions of Mars today or in the past would be beneficial to life-if it ever existed. They did not really have the necessary equipment to find real biomarkers.

Rosalind Franklin will be different. Its 54kg ALD is specifically designed to search for these complex organic molecules that originate from life processes.

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NASA / JPL-CALTECH / MSSS

Mars was certainly inhabitable – but was it inhabited?

Thursday's integration was slow and deliberate, understandable: ALD is in many respects the key element of Rosalind Franklin's mission.

"It's great to see that the heart of the river is already installed," said Sue Horn.

Analytical laboratory drawer is the key place for testing Marsian samples on the rover, allowing us to understand geology and potentially identify the signatures of Mars life.

Engineers at Airbus UK are already working three shifts a day to

Although they do not look much like at the moment, almost all the components have arrived at the Stevenage factory

They are sitting on shelves around the edge of the clean room in bags waiting for their order in the series. one or two outstanding positions, however, inclusive

This is the camera system, or PanCam, which will sit on the top of the mast and direct the robot to its track of investigation. "PanCam has to come to us for the next few days," said Chris Draper, Airbus models

"We know everything will go together, that's the beauty of system engineering. Each part of the burst is modeled in 3D and each works with interface control drawings. Assuming we all do this, then we know the ALD, For example, it will fit perfectly into the rifle. "

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NASA

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Mariner 4 made the first photos of Mars from the near landing in 1965.

Stevenage's team has had a heavy deadline since early August to get the finished Rosalind Franklin to the door.

He has to go to the company's Toulouse facility for a series of tests that will ensure that the design is reliable enough to cope with the heavy rocket shake to Mars.

Then, additional checks are being carried out in France before being sent to the launch site of the famous Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Take-off should happen in July / August next year. This date is still: You only go to Mars when aligned with the Earth, and the window of opportunity has a 26-month interval. The name of the burger: Who is Rosalind Franklin?

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Add to Lightbox Add to Lightbox RF Royalty Free Rosewood Franklin is a joint project of Europe and Russia
In 1952, Rosalind Franklin was at King's College London (KCL), investigating the atomic alignment of DNA using her X-ray crystallography skills to create analysis images.

One of her team photos, known as Photo 51, gave the critical insights to Crick and Watson about building the first three-dimensional model of the two-stringed macromolecule. This was one of the highest achievements of 20th century science, allowing researchers finally to understand how DNA stores, copies and transmits the genetic code of life.

Crick, Watson and his colleague Morris Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for a breakthrough. Franklin's premature death means that she can not be considered for the prize (Nobel laureates are not awarded posthumously). However, many claim that its contribution has never been the subject of the attention it deserves, and has even been underestimated.

  • BBC – In our time: Melvin Bragg remembers the life of Rosalind Franklin


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