New British-made Mars rover named after unsung DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin

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Rosalind Franklin was a British physicist, biophysicist, chemist, X-ray crystallographer, and biologist who contributed to the understanding of DNA, RNA, coal, viruses, and graphite.

Franklin first used X-ray diffraction methods to study DNA as a research fellow at King's College, London in 1951.

Britain's Science Minister Chris Skidmore and British astronaut Tim Peake announced the rover will be called the Rosalind Franklin.

Part of the ExoMars mission, ESA's "Rosalind Franklin" Mars Rover would also collaborate with the so-called Mars2020 rover which would also hunt for the evidence of extraterrestrials on the Red Planet for NASA.

A panel of experts has chosen Rosalind Franklin as the name for the European Space Agency's (ESA)'s upcoming Mars rover, which is now expected to begin exploring the Red Planet in 2021. Franklin codiscovered DNA's double-helix structure, and her namesake rover will search Mars for signs of life.

"This name reminds us that it is in the human genes to explore".

The six-wheeler will be looking for traces of life beyond Earth

The ExoMars rover, which ESA officials are now just calling Rosalind for short, joins other ESA space mission hardware bearing the names of historical figures such as the Schiaparelli module, named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, that attempted a landing on Mars in 2016. The rover is part of the mission's second phase, which is scheduled to launch in 2020 and land on the Red Planet in March 2021. Astronaut Tim Peake has presented the new name of the ESA's Mars Rover at the Airbus factory in Stevenage where the machine is being put together, as we speak, as BBC reported.

As the rover is a joint venture between the ESA and the Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS, it carries a number of scientific payloads from both agencies.

The rover is under development in the UK. She developed cancer and died at age 37.

"Watson and Crick never told Franklin that they had seen her materials, and they did not directly acknowledge their debt to her work when they published their classic announcement in Nature that April", the U.S. National Library of Medicine writes.

The rover was built in the United Kingdom and is created to search for traces of habitability and of life itself by roaming around on the Martian surface and drilling within the top 6.5 feet (2 meters) of the planet's surface. Franklin was unable to receive the prize as Nobel Prizes can not be awarded posthumously, but she received no mention in the acceptance speeches.

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