The Anon rover was built for Mars, but its interplanetary mission was derailed. The car-sized robot is undergoing tests at a quarry near London in the hope that it will one day go to the moon instead.
For the past two weeks, Airbus has been testing its sample rover at a quarry near Milton Keynes in the UK, which well simulates exotic environments. The developing team hopes the rover may eventually explore and work on the moon’s surface, The Guardian mentioned.
The Mars Sample Fetch Rover, also known as Anon, was built by European airline Airbus and is designed to collect pipe samples left over from NASA’s Perseverance Vehicle, that has been roaming the Red Planet since February 2021. Earlier this year, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced change of plans for him Mars sample return The mission that seeks to return samples to Earth in the next decade. Instead of using a sample hauler, NASA wants to persevere to transport the tube samples to a lander that will be waiting nearby. The space agency also wants to send two Ingenuity helicopters to Jezero Crater to collect tube samples and deliver them to the spacecraft’s vicinity.
The sudden change of plans meant that the European rover lost its ticket to Mars. However, the developers of Anon, who have been working on the rover for the past four years, haven’t given up on this little guy yet and continue to test rover systems. Ben Dubke, project manager at Airbus, told the Guardian: “While the mission may have faded, the underlying technology is still ready and able to take off, and this is the kind of final step in proving it works.”
Instead of Mars, Anon could head to the moon’s surface as part of NASA Artemis program, which seeks a sustainable and sustainable presence in the lunar environment. The probe will not collect samples from tubes on the Moon, but it can be used for other purposes, such as helping to build lunar habitats.
The rover will need some tweaking on the moon’s mission, or else it won’t withstand the cold temperatures and a complete lack of atmosphere. Anon must also be modified so that it can recover from long nights on the moon, lasting 14 days, thus placing it in complete darkness for extended periods, according to The Guardian. Anon doesn’t have a ticket to the moon yet, but its developers want to be prepared should the opportunity arise.
Anon is the second European Mars spacecraft to miss the chance to visit the Red Planet. The European Space Agency’s ExoMars spacecraft was supposed to launch this year, but The space agency suspended the joint mission With the Russian space agency Roscosmos after the invasion of Ukraine. The two rovers are currently awaiting their new fate, but it looks like both are ready for some celestial exploration.
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