The rover was tested near the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the Atacama Desert, which is one of the most Mars-like terrains on Earth. The 2018 mission of the ExoMars programme will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars. A Proton rocket will be used to launch the mission, which will arrive to Mars after a nine-month journey. The mission will drill 30 times deeper beneath the surface of Mars than the currently operating Curiosity rover, reaching a depth of approximately six-and-a-half feet (two meters).
credit: UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences Photos: ESO/G. Hudepohl
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Atacama desert, a 15 million years old desert, located in south America stretches over 1000 kilometers. Located between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, rises the most arid desert in the world. The Atacama desert is so dry that mountains of height 6,885 m have no glaciers, making them unique in the world. Studies have shown that the Atacama desert received no appreciable rainfall between 1570 and 1971, and some ancient riverbeds appear to have been dry for 12,000 years. The place is pretty cold despite being the driest desert and the temperature ranges between 0°C to 25°C.
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