Exomars
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 12:32

Exomars (scheduled for launch in 2016 and 2020) is a joint European-Russian unmanned interplanetary station. It consists of an orbital module, a landing research platform and a rover. The main objectives of the "Exomars" mission are: study of the aquatic, geochemical environment on the surface and in the subsurface layer; search for signs of life on Mars in the past and present; study of gas impurities and their sources in the planet's atmosphere.

The mission consists of two stages - the launch of the orbital module according to the established plan for 2016 (there will be a landing meteorological station on board orbital module) and the launch of a lander with a rover in 2020. The orbital module TGO is designed to search for the most suitable landing site for the future rover, will serve as a repeater for the weather station and the future rover, and is also designed to study Mars from an artificial satellite orbit. The meteorological station, delivered by the first stage of the mission, in addition to studying the atmosphere, will also study local electromagnetic fields. They perhaps influence the formation of Martian dust storms (electrifying Martian dust). Color cameras will also be installed at the weather station to transmit images to Earth.

Mars rover "Exomars", after successful completion of the first phase, will be delivered to the red planet, presumably in 2020. It is designed to take soil samples from a depth of up to two meters using a drill; there will be a mini-laboratory on board to search for traces of life in present and in the past. The rover will be able to move autonomously, choosing the safest route using video camera systems. "Exomars" will have a ground radar that will allow studying the soil up to 20 meters deep using high-frequency waves. The device will be able to survive cold nights thanks to batteries and thermal devices, on sunny days it will be able to work on solar batteries. The preliminary minimum operating time of the rover is 218 Martian days (sol).

The successful launch of the first stage of the Exomars mission was on March 14, 2016. After putting the spacecraft on the flight path, all scientific instruments are in the normal mode. During the flight, overheating of the vehicle's engine was detected, the engine was saved by changing its orientation in space. Estimated time of arrival to Mars orbit - October 16, 2016. On October 19, 2016, the TGO orbiter entered a stable orbit on Mars. The Schiaparelli lander started operation landing. At the first stages of landing, the descent occurred as planned. After the device dropped the parachute, the heat shield was damaged. Then, an error occurred in the operation of the software - the probe considered that it was not on the surface, but under the surface of Mars, separated the parachutes and turned off the engines. The device fell from a height of about 3 km, in the place where it was supposed to land. Place of the fall of "Schiaparelli" plateau Meridiana with coordinate 2 degrees S. W. and 354 degrees E. L.  The TGO orbital module is in full working order and continues work.

The launch of the second stage of the "Exomars" mission is scheduled for July 25 - August 11, 2020. Landing on the surface of Mas is expected to occur in March 2021. In connection with the arisen problems with the device of the parachutes, ESA (Europian Space Agency) requested assistance from NASA. NASA specialists helped the European space agency to design a parachute system for landing the module on the planet's surface. Final testing of the landing systems was planned in January-March 2020 at the US proving ground in state Oregon. Roskosmos (Russian Space Agency) took part in the development of the lander – construction corpus.

The American-European team has created the main instrument of the ExoMars rover - the MOMA (abbreviation) laboratory for searching for organic molecules. The laboratory must examine the soil samples received by the rover from a depth of two meters using a mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph. The samples are heated, then the molecular composition of the rocks is studied using a laser.

The launch of the spacecraft was postponed due to the need for additional tests and the emerging epidemic of the "coronavirus" the same "covid-19" virus. The launch is schedule for 2022 year.