We present a new European Mars mission proposal to build on the UK-led Beagle2 Mars mission and continue its astrobiology-focussed investigation of Mars. The small surface element to be delivered to the Martian surface - Vanguard - is designed to be carried by a Mars Express-type spacecraft bus to Mars and adopts a similar entry, descent and landing system as Beagle2. The surface element comprises a triad of robotic devices - a lander, a micro-rover of the Sojourner class for surface mobility, and three ground-penetrating moles mounted onto the rover for sub-surface penetration to 5 m depth. The major onboard instruments on the rover include a Raman spectrometer/imager, a laser plasma spectrometer, an infrared spectrometer - these laser instruments provide the basis for in situ "remote" sensing of the sub-surface Martian environment within a powerful scientific package. The moles carry the instruments' sensor head array to the sub-surface. The moles are thus required to undergo a one-way trip down the boreholes without the need for recovery of moles or samples, eliminating much of the robotic complexity invoked by such operations.

Acta Astronautica
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ellery, A, Ball, A.J. (Andrew J.), Cockell, C. (Charles), Dickensheets, D. (David), Edwards, H. (Howell), Kolb, C. (Christof), … Richter, L. (Lutz). (2005). Vanguard - A European robotic astrobiology-focussed Mars sub-surface mission proposal. Acta Astronautica (Vol. 56, pp. 397–407). doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2004.05.069