June 4, 2019

Mission

In its programme declaration, ESA sets out the technology and science goals of ExoMars.
bpc_exomars-timeline_en.png

Technological Goals

Four technology goals have been defined:

  • Land a rover on Mars carrying a suite of scientific instruments
  • Drive the rover on the surface of Mars over a distance of several kilometres
  • Collect samples from the subsurface to look for preserved organic matter
  • Prepare these samples for analysis by the suite of instrument

 

Scientific Goals

The science goals have evolved to reflect the changes to the configuration of the ExoMars programme:

  • Detect gases and measure the concentration of volatile compounds in trace amounts in the atmosphere
  • Analyse subsurface samples for traces of present or ancient Martian life
  • Characterize the structure of Mars’ near-surface subsoil

Program Overview

The first mission of the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars programme, ExoMars 2016, comprises a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and an Entry, descent and landing Demonstrator Module (EDM).

The orbiter supplied by ESA is probing the Martian atmosphere with unprecedented sensitivity for compounds present in infinitesimal amounts. Some compounds, such as methane and products generated when it breaks down, could be significant for exobiology. The orbiter’s instruments will continue operating until 2022 to:

  • acquire highly sensitive measurements of trace gases and compile a high-resolution map of the spatial distribution and temporal variations of each compound
  • measure and image the distribution of atmospheric aerosols at low resolution
  • study temperature variations in the atmosphere
  • image concentrations of gaseous compounds at high resolution to provide geological context, where it exists, of sources identified

The payload comprises European and Russian instruments.

The second mission, ExoMars 2020, scheduled to arrive at Mars in 2021, will land the Russian Kazachok surface platform and the European Rosalind Franklin rover.

Rosalind Franklin is designed to:

  • search for signs of past or present life on Mars
  • characterize the geochemical environment down to a depth of 2 metres

The rover will carry the Pasteur payload, comprising a full suite of scientific instruments to perform exobiology and geochemistry research. It will drive several kilometres and collect soil samples for analysis.

The Kazachok platform and its scientific instruments will collect and transmit environmental data once the rover has disembarked.