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The Stevenage-built Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover's official name has been revealed, ahead of its mission to the red planet in 2020.

But, how much do you know about this amazing 'mobile laboratory', which was designed on Gunnels Wood Road?

A series of prototype rovers has been used since 2007 to thoroughly evaluate the design of the locomotion and navigation systems and to perfect improvements. Each prototype is given a nickname by the development team. First there was Bridget then Bruno and the latest is Bryan.

You'll see from the video (below) filmed during testing that there are six wheels, which can be 'walked' to negotiate the martian terrain. It also has a drill and  rock crushing machine which can feed samples into an onboard laboratory:

If you thought driving along a pothole-filled road was bad enough, this is how the Mars Rover was put through its paces in vibration testing!

The rover...

1. Is slated for launch in 2020 and will take up to nine months to reach Mars

2. Will use parachutes, thrusters and damping systems to land safely on the surface

3. Will be the first Mars rover specifically designed to find evidence of past or present life

4. Carries nine experiments to analyse the physical and chemical properties of Martian samples

5. Has a mass of around 300 kilograms

6. Travels at a maximum speed of 2 centimetres per second on the flat

7. Can cover 70 metres per day when navigating autonomously depending on solar energy available

8. Is expected to travel up to 4 km over the six months duration of the mission

9. Has six 285 mm flexible metal wheels as rubber cannot be sent to Mars because it is an organic material

10. Has three motors on each wheel which can be independently steered 90° left or right to let the rover move sideways or rotate on the spot

11. Is designed to climb inclines of up to 26° without toppling over

12. Has 50 motors in total: to power the drill, deploy the mast, control the cameras, unfold its solar panels and, of course, to drive the wheels

13. Has five solar panels with a total surface area of 2.3 m2 which is the only source of power for the rover

14. Communicates with Earth twice each Martian day by a radio link using orbiting satellites

15. May have a radio signal delay of up to 20 minutes each way between Earth and Mars

16. Has an autonomous navigation system that uses a stereo pair of navigation cameras on a two metre mast which map the safest and fastest route to a target

17. Uses a stereo pair of localisation cameras mounted on the rover’s body to locate the position of the vehicle and also assist in identifying any wheel spin

18. Has a two metre drill to collect samples from below the surface which will have been protected from the harsh solar radiation

19. Has to withstand night-time temperatures down to -120°C and day-time temperatures up to -50˚C to 40˚C

20. Cannot carry anything that could contaminate Mars therefore will be manufactured in a special clean facility in Stevenage, UK

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