Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
ExoMars on its way to solve the Red Planet's mysteries
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Mar 16, 2016


ExoMars 2016 lifted off on a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan at 09:31 GMT on 14 March 2016. Image courtesy ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016. For a larger version of this image please go here.

The first of two joint ESA-Roscosmos missions to Mars has begun a seven-month journey to the Red Planet, where it will address unsolved mysteries of the planet's atmosphere that could indicate present-day geological - or even biological - activity.

The Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator lifted off on a Proton-M rocket operated by Russia's Roscosmos at 09:31 GMT (10:31 CET) this morning from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Following separation of Proton's first and second stages, the payload fairing was released. The third stage separated nearly 10 minutes after liftoff. The Breeze-M upper stage, with ExoMars attached, then completed a series of four burns before the spacecraft was released at 20:13 GMT (21:13 CET).

Signals from the spacecraft, received at ESA's control centre in Darmstadt, Germany via the Malindi ground tracking station in Africa at 21:29 GMT (22:29 CET), confirmed that the launch was fully successful and the spacecraft is in good health. The orbiter's solar wings have also now unfolded and the craft is on its way to Mars.

"It's been a long journey getting the first ExoMars mission to the launch pad, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our international teams, a new era of Mars exploration is now within our reach," says Johann-Dietrich Woerner, ESA's Director General.

"I am grateful to our Russian partner, who have given this mission the best possible start today. Now we will explore Mars together."

Igor Komarov, General Director of the Roscosmos State Space Corporation, adds, "Only the process of collaboration produces the best technical solutions for great research results. Roscosmos and ESA are confident of the mission's success."

"We're not only looking forward to the world-class science data that this mission will return, but it is also significant in paving the way for the second ExoMars mission, which will move our expertise from in-orbit observations to surface and subsurface exploration of Mars," says Alvaro Gimenez, ESA's Director of Science.

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli will travel to Mars together before separating on 16 October at distance of 900 000 km from the planet.

Then, on 19 October, Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere, descending to the surface in just under six minutes.

Schiaparelli will demonstrate key entry, descent, and landing technologies for future missions, and will conduct a number of environmental studies during its short mission on the surface.

For example, it will obtain the first measurements of electric fields on the surface of Mars that, combined with measurements of the concentration of atmospheric dust, will provide new insights into the role of electric forces on dust lifting - the trigger for dust storms.

Meanwhile, on the same day, TGO will enter an elliptical four-day orbit around Mars, taking it from about 300 km at its nearest to around 96 000 km at its furthest point.

After a year of complex 'aerobraking', manoeuvres during which the spacecraft will use the planet's atmosphere to lower its orbit slowly to a circular 400 km, its scientific mission to analyse rare gases in the atmosphere will begin.

Of particular interest is methane, which on Earth, points to active geological or biological processes.

One of the mission's key goals is to follow up on the methane detection made by ESA's Mars Express in 2004 to understand the processes at play in its generation and destruction, with an improved accuracy of three orders of magnitude over previous measurements.

TGO will also image features on the martian surface that may be related to trace-gas sources such as volcanoes. In addition, it will be able to detect buried water-ice deposits, which, along with locations identified as sources of the trace gases, could influence the choice of landing sites of future missions.

The orbiter will also act as a data relay for the second ExoMars mission, comprising a rover and stationary surface science platform, which is scheduled for launch in May 2018, arriving in early 2019.

.


Related Links
ExoMars at ESA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
MARSDAILY
Rocket blasts off on Russia-Europe mission seeking life on Mars
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (AFP) March 14, 2016
Two robotic spacecraft on Monday began a seven-month journey to Mars as part of a European-Russian unmanned space mission to sniff out leads to life on the Red Planet. Russia's Proton rocket carrying the spacecraft launched into an overcast sky at the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppe at 0931 GMT according to plan, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the European ... read more


MARSDAILY
Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

MARSDAILY
China's ambition after space station

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

China's lunar probe sets record for longest stay

MARSDAILY
Marshall supports 15 years of ISS science discoveries

Space station astronauts ham it up to inspire student scientists

Roscosmos-NASA Contract on US Astronauts Delivery to ISS on Restructuring

NASA station leads way for improved measurements of Earth orientation, shape

MARSDAILY
What's Eating at Pluto?

Methane Snow on Pluto's Peaks

Versatile Instrument to Scout for Kuiper Belt Objects

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

MARSDAILY
New photos show 'magic island' on Saturn's moon

Tethys, Janus pose with Saturn's rings in new NASA photo

Titan Temperature Lag Maps and Animation

Ices and shadows above Saturn

MARSDAILY
New NASA Instruments to Study Air Pollution, Cyclones

Eyeing Climate Change, Satellites Provide Missing Information

Sentinel-3A continues to impress

Satellites and shipwrecks

MARSDAILY
Astronaut Scott Kelly to retire in April

Greece tourism insists on sunny outlook amid refugee crisis

Planetary Science Institute funded for expanded education public outreach effort

NASA tests inflatable heat shield technology for deep space missions

MARSDAILY
NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

Star eruptions create and scatter elements with Earth-like composition

Astronomers discover two new 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets

Sharpest view ever of dusty disc around aging star




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.