Neptec’s Artemis Jr. lunar rover unveiled in Florida as MDA’s Mars rover project cancelled.
The Canadian Space Agency delivered good/bad news about Canada’s efforts to launch robotic rovers into space over the next decade.
The bad news, reports the Ottawa Citizen, is that MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates partnership with NASA to design a Mars rover for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars mission has been scrapped. Instead the ESA will partner with Russia for the 2018-targeted mission to search for signs of life on the red planet.
The good news is that, in Florida this week, the Canadian Space Agency and NASA showed off the Artemis Jr. lunar rover, designed and built by a group of companies headed by Ottawa-based Neptec Design Group. Intended for NASA’s Regolith & Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) project, the rover is designed to mine hydrogen- and oxygen-rich lunar soil to provide a local source of water for future missions.
According to CSA director general of space exploration, Gilles Leclec – quoted in the Ottawa Citizen — the Artemis Jr. could land on the Moon by 2018, depending on progress made on NASA’s heavy-launch Space Launch System (SLS).