ExoMars is a new robotic mission program carried out by Esa (European Space Agency) in cooperation with Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency). After Esa’s historical success of Rosetta mission, ExoMars program an astrobiology mission to study the origin and evolution of life on Mars in preparation for future human exploration, represents a further step for Europe to expand its knowledge and prove its capabilities related to space exploration. As our planet and Mars reach their closest distance in their orbit this year, the launch window for the first ExoMars mission is on March 14th, 2016 from Baikonur Kosmodrome, in Kazakhstan.
This mission consists of a Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli module, an entry and descent and landing module. Its purpose is to investigate the presence and nature of gases on the Martian atmosphere, such as methane and others which could be an evidence of geological or biological activity. It represent the first stage of a series of missions devoted to better understand the history of the planet and most of all a source for harnessing natural resources on situ, once human exploration of the Red Planet will begin.
The Trace Gas Orbiter will orbit Mars at an altitude of around 400 Km, will monitor seasonal changes in the atmosphere and deliver quasi-real time information to Esa control centers for evaluations of the ongoing atmosphere measurements. Schiapparelli demonstrator module will land on the Martian surface, and provide the knowledge for Esa to independently develop future modules to land on the Red Plantet for an extensive length of time, and carry out scientific experiments on its surface and underground in search for water, organic and geologic activities. Europe’s excellence in technology and innovation is proving to have the ability to play an important role in space exploration.