Leonardo has begun designing a robotic technology for the European Space Agency's platform to collect samples gathered by NASA's Perseverance rover from the surface of Mars.
The robotic arm will be part of the Sample Fetch Rover that an Airbus-led industry team is building to support the second of the three planned Mars Sample Return missions under a joint NASA-ESA campaign, Leonardo said Wednesday.
The instrument will be designed to extend up to 110 centimeters and include a gripper and a controller with 6 degrees of freedom.
Leonardo also secured funds from ESA to explore a complex arm to help the NASA lander transfer samples from the European rover to the Mars Ascent Vehicle during the mission.
The U.S space agency launched Perseverance in July to kick off the MSR program.