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Rosalind Franklin Rover

A new Mars rover made in the UK has been named Rosalind Franklin after the DNA researcher, Agence France-Presse reports.

Franklin "helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars," UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore said at the unveiling, according to AFP.

Franklin, as BBC News says, was an X-ray crystallographer whose images of DNA enabled James Watson and Francis Crick to determine the molecule's structure. Franklin, as she died in 1958, was ineligible to receive the 1962 Nobel Prize shared by Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins, it adds. AFP notes that her contribution to the deciphering of the structure of DNA was largely overlooked until the 1990s.

The rover named in her honor is to land on Mars in 2021 as part of the ExoMars program, a joint effort of the European Space Agency and the Russian Roscosmos, AFP says. Once there, it is to search for traces of life by drilling and sampling the soil.

The Scan

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