Barnard Castle company helps robot mission to Mars
A BARNARD Castle firm is playing its part in making sure humans don’t contaminate Mars.
Honeyman Group, based in Harmire Enterprise Park, has been providing training for experts working on ExoMars – Europe’s largest ever planetary mission. Honeyman Group, which supports the pharmaceutical, biotech and medicals sector, has been helping space scientists avoid contamination through courses on such things as sterilisation.
The European Space Research and Technology Centre, which is the European Space Agency's main development and test centre for spacecraft and space technology, hailed the training as playing an important role in ExoMars.
In a letter to Honeyman Group, Alan Dowson, a lab manager at the space agency’s centre, said: “Although the planetary protection course given by European Space Agency goes into more depth on contamination levels and procedure for specific missions, the lessons and experience I have learned from your courses at Honeyman have been passed to engineers from industry across Europe when they come to use our facility.
“So we are part of the bigger picture and your company [Honeyman] has played its part making sure we don’t contaminate Mars.”
He said the skills learnt were implemented in the centre’s ISO1 cleanroom which cleans, sterilises and packs ExoMars flight model instruments and space parachutes.
ExoMars, which is led by the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will probe for past life on Mars using a robot, which will be launched this year.