Testing a Mars Rover – Challenges Specific to Thermal Environmental Testing of the ExoMars Rover



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


The ExoMars Rover Module test campaign had specific challenges brought on by simulation of the Martian environment and the rover design itself. Unlike with most deep space missions, a Martian lander does not experience steady state conditions. As such the rover’s thermal design is optimised for a transient environment. To verify the design, the chamber shrouds utilise transient profiles to simulate both the Martian sky and surface. The effect of solar flux on the Rover is simulated using a 3D grid of infrared lamps surrounding the rover within the test chamber. The transient power profiles of these infrared lamps were calculated for each face of the rover, taking multiple factors into account. Further, the Martian atmosphere is 95% Carbon Dioxide at pressures between 3.5mbar - 12mbar. This is replicated inside the chamber using both Carbon Dioxide and Gaseous Nitrogen during various phases of testing.


Joshua Katzenberg, Airbus Defence & Space, GB
Luke Tamkin, Airbus Defence & Space, GB
Vito Laneve, European Space Agency (ESA), European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), RHEA System, NL
ICES203: Thermal Testing
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


ExoMars, Testing, Mars, Rover, Thermal-vacuum (TVAC)