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According to ESA plans, in May 2021, their new rover will land on Mars. This is part of the ExoMars Mars Exploration Program, a research project aimed at finding signs of life on Mars in the past and present. In addition to exploring the surface of Mars, the drilling machine equipped on the new Mars rover can also go deep into the Martian soil for sampling, and the deepest can take a sample of two meters below the surface for analysis.
I actually don’t understand the details of this Mars exploration plan, and I can’t give you an in-depth introduction. But there is a reason why I would like to mention it: just last week, this rover has just been named “Rosaline Franklin”.
This is the name chosen after referring to about 36,000 opinions of the people. It is to pay tribute to the British physical chemist and crystallographer who made important contributions to the determination of the structure of the DNA double helix.
In 1952, Rosalyn Franklin took the famous picture called “Photo 51” (Photo 51), which shows the X-ray diffraction pattern of DNA crystals, which is the key evidence to determine the structure of DNA double helix. But at the time, her contribution was not sufficiently recognized. In 1962, Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Franklin had no chance of receiving the same honor in 1958 due to bronchopneumonia and ovarian cancer.
She once missed the Nobel Prize, and sixty years later, the “Rosaline Franklin” rover is about to set off. It will continue to search for answers to science and life on that distant red planet.
Image source: ESA