Mars yard
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Mars on Earth: Sand pit recreates the Red Planet

27 March 2014 Last updated at 14:02 GMT

Airbus has built a giant sand pit in Stevenage to mimic the surface of Mars.

The indoor terrain, about the size of a basketball court, will be used to test systems on the rover that Europe will send to the Red Planet in 2018.

ExoMars, as it is known, will be a six-wheeled robot tasked with finding signs of past or present life.

Richard Lancaster, navigation and control analyst for the ExoMars project, gives the BBC a guided tour of Stevenage's own indoor version of the Red Planet, and explains how it is being used to test the rover.