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Thread: ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars), robotic exploration of Mars, ExoMars Rover, European Space Agency, Paris, France

  1. #11

    ExoMars: From separation to landing

    Published on Oct 14, 2016

    On 16 October, seven months and 500 million km after launching from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, the joint European and Russian ExoMars 2016 mission reaches a crucial phase.

    The Trace Gas Orbiter will release its Schiaparelli lander for a three day coast and a six minute descent to the Martian surface.The lander, which was designed to demonstrate technologies for entry, descent and landing on Mars, is heading for the Meridiani Planum. This is an area that is currently being studied by NASA’s Opportunity rover and Europe’s Mars Express orbiter.

    On 19 October, the Schiaparelli lander will be activated a few hours before reaching the Martian atmosphere, when it will be travelling at some 21 000 km/h. The front heatshield – covered with 90 insulating tiles – will be subjected to temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Celsius.

    This video covers the separation, descent and landing procedures, as well as the orbiter’s critical burn to avoid crashing on the surface of Mars.

  2. #12

    2016 ExoMars Mission - Introduction by Thomas Walloschek

    Published on Oct 19, 2016

    Thomas Walloschek, ESA engineer, talks about the goals of 2016 ExoMars mission.

  3. #13

    ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter enters Mars orbit

    Published on Oct 18, 2016

    Animation visualising the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), with its thrusters firing, beginning its entry into Mars orbit on 19 October 2016.

  4. #14

    Schiaparelli landing – what we should have seen

    Published on Oct 20, 2016

    As part of ExoMars 2016 mission, Schiaparelli module should have landed on Mars, but it might have crashed on 19 October 2016. During the descent, Schiaparelli was expected to capture images of the approaching surface. The sequence of the 15 images was simulated from images taken by the CTX context camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

  5. #15

    Schiaparelli crashed on Mars!

    Published on Oct 21, 2016

    New images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show Schiaparelli’s landing site. The bright spot may be Schiaparelli's 12-m diameter parachute and the dark area (15 x 40 metres in size) is likely the result of Schiaparelli’s impact. Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h.

  6. #16

  7. #17

    ExoMars Science

    Published on Oct 26, 2016

    On Mars there are dust storms, polar ice caps and four distinct seasons. This dynamic world has the largest volcanic mountain in our Solar System and a canyon stretching over 5000 kilometres. Its atmosphere also includes methane, which could result from geological processes or be signatures of current biological activity on the planet. The joint European and Russian ExoMars mission will test key exploration technologies and search for evidence of methane and other rare gases in the Martian atmosphere. This film is a recap of the science aims of the ExoMars 2016 mission, building on the findings of Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft.

  8. #18

    ExoMars sends first images from Mars

    Published on Nov 29, 2016

    Images acquired by the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) onboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter on 22 November 2016: Arsia Chasmata, 1.4 km-diameter crater near the Mars equator, Stereo reconstruction of terrain in Noctis Labyrinthus.

  9. #19

    ExoMars - A promising future

    Published on Dec 13, 2016

    2016 has been an eventful and promising year for ESA’s ExoMars mission. After successfully placing the Trace Gas Orbiter into Mars’ orbit on 19 October, the orbiter has sent back its first images, tested its instruments and performed in orbit calibration measurements and health checks.

    The Schiaparelli lander collected almost all of its expected data before its unexpected crash landing on the Martian surface. Crucial lessons will be learnt from this for the recently approved 2020 ExoMars mission, which will put Europe’s first rover on Mars.

    The precise cause of the lander loss is still being investigated but preliminary technical investigations have found that the atmospheric entry and slowing down in the early phases went exactly as planned.

    In all, since its launch in March 2016, the ExoMars mission has been a mixture of successes and one unexpected set back. Looking ahead, the Trace Gas Orbiter will start aerobraking in March 2017 to gradually slow down over the following months. By the end of 2017, the orbiter will be in a lower, near circular orbit of 400 kms and ExoMars’ primary science mission can begin.

  10. #20

    ExoMars first year in orbit

    Published on Dec 16, 2016

    An overview animation of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter’s expected path around Mars between October 2016 and December 2017.

    The spacecraft entered orbit on 19 October 2016, on a highly elliptical path that took it between about 250 km and 98 000 km from the planet in about 4.2 days.

    The main science mission is intended to take place from a near-circular 400 km orbit, starting in early 2018. The spacecraft will achieve this orbit by aerobraking – using the planet’s atmosphere to slow down gradually.First, on 19 January 2017, the angle of the orbit will be changed to 74? with respect to the equator, so that science observations can cover most of the planet.

    Next, to get into an aerobraking orbit, the craft will fire its thrusters in early February to reach 200 x 33 475 km, which will also reduce its orbital period to 24 hours.

    Aerobraking is planned to begin on 15 March, with a series of seven manoeuvres – about one every three days – that will steadily lower the craft’s altitude at its point of closest approach, from 200 km to about 114 km. Then the atmosphere will take over, gradually reducing the most distant part of the orbit.

    Final manoeuvres are expected at the end of 2017 to circularise the orbit at an altitude of about 400 km, whereupon the science mission can begin.

    The animation is based on data available as of end-2016, but the actual timing of the various manoeuvres may be subject to change as operational plans develop during 2017.

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