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Airbus Defence and Space space systems head for Mars

Flying aboard the rover Curiosity

NASA’s new Mars rover, Curiosity, will be launched on 25 November from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Dubbed the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the main objective of this mission is to assess Mars’ ‘habitability’, in other words whether the planet is or ever was able to support microbial life.

Aboard the vehicle are two key mission systems developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space in Spain under bilateral collaboration agreements between NASA, the Spanish Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) and the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA).

A steerable antenna and a meteorological station will be the first Spanish space systems to reach the surface of Mars

The steerable antenna is capable of transmitting information in specific directions which will enable the rover to communicate directly with Earth from the Martian surface.

The REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) will provide daily weather reports for the rover’s area of operation.

Photo © NASA / JPL / Caltech

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