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Europe tests Rovers in the Moroccan desert landscape of Morocco



Several European Space Agencies have recently deployed Mars rovers in Morocco for field tests conducted in a Mars-like environment. According to the European Space Agency, the tests took place on the northern edge of the Sahara Desert, which was designated by the Europlanet research infrastructure as a location very similar to the Martian landscape. The tests included three Mars rovers and more than 40 engineers.

The ESA, which coordinated the field trials, explains that in Morocco this spar was the first phase of a "strategic research cluster" with space robotics. Space agencies with France, Italy, UK, Spain and Germany are involved in this cluster, all partners in the PERASPERA Ad Astra project, which coordinates the cluster.

In this first phase of research, three Mars rovers spent a total of two weeks in the Sahara, where engineers field-tested to verify the suitability of the Rover designs. The situation is described as similar to Mars and is so popular, according to ESA, that the researchers had to share the room with a Hollywood film crew.

Mars is the next big human border, but the exploration of the planet is still in its infancy. Currently, several space agencies have spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, and NASA has successfully deployed three rovers on Mars, although only two are currently operational. However, several European space agencies are developing more Mars rovers to be deployed in the Martian landscape in the coming years.

One of the Rovers, the SherpaTT, successfully traveled 1

.3 kilometers and found it, finding it unleashes the scientific exploration of unusual rocks all by itself. This autonomous functionality is essential for future scientific tasks. Gianfranco Visentin, head of ESA for Automation and Robotics, talks about this:

This is important for the future when many more rovers come to Mars and drive hundreds of meters per day. There will be no analyst schools that scrutinize every image – intelligent rover systems are needed to recognize the interesting and send it to Earth.

After successfully completing this first phase, the project plans to enter a new phase that will help prepare the way for a planned demonstration of an orbital robotics space mission for 2023.


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