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Preparedness for ExoMars 2020 Mission. / December 16, 2016 /

ЕSA and Thales Alenia Space signed a contract today that secures the completion of the European elements of the next mission to Mars. The contract was signed in Rome (Italy) envisaging the completion of the European elements of ExoMars 2020 and their prelaunch testing. These include first of all the Mars rover to be accommodated within the Russian descent module, and the carrier module for cruise and delivery to Mars.

The instruments to study the Martian atmosphere and environment will be installed on the Russian landing platform. ESA is also contributing important elements of the descent module such as parachute, radar, inertial measurement unit, UHF radio elements, and onboard computer and software. The science instruments for rover and landing platform will be funded by ROSCOSMOS, national agencies of ESA member-states, and NASA. The structural models of the carrier and rover are expected to be delivered in January and February 2017 года.

The main objective of the ExoMars program is to address one of the most outstanding scientific questions of our time: is there, or has there ever been life on Mars?

«ExoMars is a cornerstone of ESA’s exploration program,» says David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration. «Using its miniaturized life-search laboratory and advanced robotic technology, the mission will explore the Red Planet in search of new evidence to answer questions that have long fascinated humanity. Following the renewed support demonstrated by ESA member states allows us to complete the flight models of the European elements and keeps us on track for a July 2020 launch.»

„The steadfastness and tenacity of both the European and Italian space agencies has reassured all program partners and enabled us to continue our production work so we can go ahead with this new and very complex mission,“ says Donato Amoroso CEO of Thales Alenia Space.

The TGO module that carries the Russian ACS and FREND instruments (they are operational now) will soon be exploring this question from the Martian orbit – the first test of the TGO’s science instruments has been recently completed. TGO will study the atmospheric trace gases (such as methane, for example) that may be evidence for possible biological or geological processes on the Red Planet. TGO will be used to relay data from the rover and landing platform in 2020.

Oxia Planum is a candidate landing site for ExoMars mission. This region of Mars supposedly points to aqueous conditions existence in the past that could preserve biosignature. The landing site will be approved by ROSCOSMOS and ЕSА six months before the start of the second mission.

ROSCOSMOS Press Service

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