Mars Rover autonomous navigation
ExoMars Rover Engineer Abbie Hutty, from Airbus Defence and Space explains how the Mars Rover uses 3D cameras to create a map of the Mars landscape, and onboard software allows it to plot its own route across the surface to avoid craters or large obstacles. Abbie explains that the Mars Rover needs to autonomously navigate because remote controlling it from Earth would not be practical. Signals take up to 22 minutes to travel to Mars and so if the controller on Earth pressed the stop button, the Mars Rover would not receive the instruction until it was too late! Abbie also explains that the Rover has metal wheels because rubber wheels are not allowed to be taken to Mars - the Rover’s mission is to search for life, and rubber is made from trees so could contaminate the samples.