Tuesday, October 11, 2016
The ExoMars 2016 mission, a colaboration between the ESA and Russian Roscosmos space agency, will enter Martian orbit on October 19 2016. The previously released Schiaparelli lander will begin its descent to the Martian surface.
ExoMars comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator.
TGO will make a detailed inventory of Mars’ atmospheric gases, with particular interest in rare gases like methane, which may indicate that there once was or is now implies that there is an active, and or current source. TGO aims to measure methane’s geographical and seasonal dependence and help to determine whether it stems from a geological or biological source.
TGO will start its science mission at the end of 2017, following a year of complex aerobraking manoeuvres to circularise its orbit. It will also act as a relay for ESA’s ExoMars 2020 rover.
Schiaparelli will separate from TGO on 16 October, entering the atmosphere for a six-minute descent to a region in Meridiani Planum, on 19 October.