Portugal leads pioneering consortium testing planet-scanning technology in Norway

Portuguese multinational Tekever is leading a European consortium that has created pioneering technology to explore planets.

Director Ricardo Mendes told Lusa news agency the technology will cost “a great deal less” than the Curiosity robot used to explore the surface of Mars earlier this year.

The consortium hopes to start testing its new system, dubbed SWIPE, in the Norwegian Svalbard islands, in the Arctic Circle, by the end of September or beginning of October.

The Svalbard islands have been chosen, he explained, because they offer conditions “closest to those found in space”.

Tekever was responsible for creating the network of heat and light sensors which allow for the recovery of “the greatest amount of data possible” from the surface of a planet like Mars, or even the moon, he said, processing the information which could then be sent via satellite back to Earth.

In future, the technology could be used to prepare manned space flights to other planets, giving the most information possible on these planets, Mendes added
Working with Tekever on the €2 million project are the universities of Rome and Leicester, UK, as well as engineering, telecommunications, and aerospace companies based in France and Spain.

SWIPE is to be presented to the 66th International Astronautical Congress in Israel in October. As Lusa explains, Tekever has already produced technology for the European Space Agency that allows for communication between satellites.

[email protected]