ExoMars rover mobility system engineer
Pantelis Poulakis is an ExoMars Rover Mobility System Engineer at the European Space Technology Center (ESTEC), ESA.
He is from Athens. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and he has done MSc in Mechatronics at the University of Twente. In 2010 he started working for the European Space Agency.
The main objective of the ExoMars programme is to address one of the most outstanding scientific questions of our time: is there, or has there ever been, life on Mars?
The European Space Agency (ESA) has established the ExoMars programme to investigate the Martian environment and to demonstrate new technologies paving the way for a future Mars sample return mission in the 2020’s.
Two missions are foreseen within the ExoMars programme: one consisting of the Trace Gas Orbiter plus an Entry, Descent and landing demonstrator Module (EDM), known as Schiaparelli, launched on 14 March 2016, and the other, includes a rover that will carry a drill and a suite of instruments dedicated to exobiology and geochemistry research, with a launch date of 2020. Both missions will be carried out in cooperation with Roscosmos.
Responsible for the rover’s mobility subsystem, which will research for biosignatures in the Martian subsoil to a depth of 2 meters, is Pantelis Poulakis.
As he said, “it is a very difficult mission and it is important for Europe to succeed in landing a robotic rover with a drill on Mars, which will take samples from its subsoil. If there are indeed some microbial forms of life, they would probably lie at a depth of at least one and a half to two meters for their protection”.