The ExoMars rover is part of the ExoMars program’s 2022 mission to the red planet. It will be the first mission to move over the surface of the planet and study Mars in depth. To do this, the rover will collect samples with a drill to a depth of 2 m and analyze them in its onboard laboratory.
As the rover has been very well received, the European Space Agency (ESA) has unveiled “ExoMy,” a little brother to its Mars rover. ExoMy’s hardware and software are open-source, and the non-electronic components come from a 3D printer. For a maximum of 500 euros, anyone can build their own mini Mars rover, ESA says.
Like its big brother, the little rover has six wheels. Like the original, they are suspended in such a way that the rover can also overcome larger obstacles. Both rovers have a long neck. On the ExoMy, however, it’s only 42 cm high instead of 2 m. But its smiley face is more antropomorphic-friendly than on the original.
ExoMy is designed to get kids excited about robotics, so controlling the rover is very easy via a gamepad, smartphone, or browser. But ExoMy might also serve as a low-cost platform for research and prototyping for robotics experiments.
Some features of its big brother are only replicated on ExoMy, but are not functional. These include the drill for taking soil samples and the solar panels on its back. However, perhaps some will find ways to equip their ExoMy with a solar power supply.
The ExoMy website explains how the rover is assembled.
- ExoMy website: https://esa-prl.github.io/ExoMy (Retrieved December 17, 2020)
- 3D print your own Mars rover with ExoMy