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In Stevenage, in the English countryside, Airbus is developing rovers for European space missions, including the Rosalind Franklin, which should reach the Red Planet in 2028 to carry out analyses.
This morning at the end of February, we really thought we were on Mars. Not because of the decor – a panorama of rocky hills affixed to the wall, to very successful effect. Nor because of the ground completely covered with ocher-coloured sand and strewn with boulders. But because of the sound. When the rover started moving simulating a red planet, it made a sound like a pot. A background of electronic crackling and ultrasound, crackling grains of sand projected to six alloy wheels. This rover has brought to life the icy picture we had of Mars exploration, by receiving simple postcards in the form of high-resolution images. Following our feet in the sand, we felt like a little mouse that had crept onto Mars, where the winds sweep through the desert and where robots crawl along, centimeter by centimeter.
You Don’t Need a Rocket to Pay for This Little Red Planet Indulgence: This Prototype Rover (So We Say rover in French) at the Airbus premises in Stevenage, about fifty kilometers north of London. Here, 1,500 people work to build and test satellites. On the morning of our visit, engineers were working in a clean room about the propulsion system for a communications satellite. But Stevenage f
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