Airbus Defence and Space

Exploring the universe All programmes

ExoMars programme: a lander for Mars

The ExoMars programme will see two missions travel to Mars in a joint ESA–Russia undertaking

The Russian partnership offers the launchers, instruments and descent technologies for the ESA-led programme.

The programme will demonstrate flight and in-situ qualification of key exploration-enabling technologies to support European ambitions for future robotic and human exploration missions. The main technology demonstration objectives are:

  • Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) of a large payload on the surface of Mars,
  • surface mobility using a rover with a mobility range of several kilometres,
  • access to sub-surface using a drill to acquire samples at depths of down to two metres,
  • autonomous navigation using stereo cameras to map a 3D image of the surrounding terrain,
  • automatic sample preparation and distribution for analyses of scientific experiments.

In parallel, important scientific objectives will be accomplished through a state-of-the art scientific payload.

The 2020 mission will consist of an orbiter to study methane and trace gases in the Martian atmosphere and an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) to test key technologies for future exploration missions. The EDM will have a limited static science payload, and survive for several days on the Martian surface.

The 2020 mission will carry a 300 kg rover to be delivered to the Mars surface by a Russian Descent and Landing system.

Airbus Defence and Space Satellites in the UK is taking the lead in developing the rover vehicle. The rover’s primary task will be to search for evidence of life, past or present, beneath the surface of the Red Planet. It will also collect data to identify potential risk factors for future manned missions, determine water distribution on Mars, and analyse the chemical composition of the planet’s surface.

To carry out its scientific mission, the rover will carry the Pasteur payload, packed with a wide variety of scientific instruments and tools for collecting, processing and analysing samples of Martian soil.




Fact Sheet

Customer European Space Agency/Thales Alenia Space Italy
Mission The rover vehicle supports mobile surface science acquisition and on-board sample analysis, including both chemical composition evaluation and life element detection (ie bio-markers)
Orbit Martian surface operations only
Spacecraft The rover:
• Vehicle mass: 163kg (excluding Payload)
• Payload mass: 56kg
• Power generation: 450 watts
• Dimensions: 1.2m x 1.1m x 2m
Payload • Panoramic Cameras (PanCam)
• Infrared Borehole Spectrometer (MA_MISS)
• Mars Oxidant and Organics Detector (UREY)
• Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (MOMA)
• Raman/LIBS spectrometer
• Shallow Ground Penetrating Radar (WisDOM)
• Mossbauer Spectrometer (MIMOS II)
• Visible and Infrared Microscope (MicrOmega)
• Close-up Imager (CLUPI)
• X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD)
• IR Fourier Interferometer (MIMA)

Autonomous Navigation system, based on a stereoscopic vision system
(visible wavelength)
Significant on-board processing capability (>230Mips)
6 wheel locomotion with full 21 Degree of Freedom (DoF) capability

Launch Mass 220kg
Dimensions 1.2m x 1.1m x 2m
Launch Date 2020
Mission Duration 1.5 years
Airbus Defence and Space Responsibilities Rover Vehicle Industrial Lead


Download Fact Sheet (PDF)

Mars Rover Blog

MarsSpace ExplorationExoMars