ESA ExoMars rover

Flyaway

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plus that freakkin' flu shutting down Italy and now France... (schools, kindergartens, high schools, universities... shut down. Basically we have been told that we young people are vectors for the goddam virus to kill the elderly and vulnerable people. As such, France is locking down its youth - no teaching but also no crowded events. Geez).
It’s not a flu.
 

Archibald

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Then what the heck is it ??!!! Gastro-enteritis ? fact is, it is a shitstorm.... :p
 

Flyaway

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Google translate:
"One of the scenarios of the ExoMars-2022 mission, which is currently being analyzed, involves launching in late September or early October 2022 and landing in June 2023," Pishel said, adding that the final decision will be made jointly with Roscosmos.
 

FighterJock

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Good news for Exo Mars, the upgraded instruments will help with the science when the rover gets to Mars in 2022.
 

Flyaway

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Mars rover revival

As Mars exploration prepares for a rebirth, a European rover tunes up its gear for the challenges ahead.

Tomorrow, 23 July, ESA and dozens of industrial partners will assess the readiness of the ExoMars robotic explorer, named Rosalind Franklin, for a trip to the Red Planet in 2022. The European rover will drill down to two metres into the martian surface to sample the soil, analyse its composition and search for evidence of life buried underground.

The rover successfully proved that it is fit to endure the martian conditions during the environmental test campaign earlier this year in Toulouse, France. This laboratory on wheels withstood temperatures as low as –120°C and less than one hundredth of Earth’s atmospheric pressure to simulate the extremes of its journey through space and on the surface of Mars.

By the end of this week a more robust set of solar panels will begin its trip to reunite with the rover after some cracks were detected during those environmental tests. New fasteners are in place and will be on their way from the Airbus facilities in Stevenage, in the UK, to Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, where the rover awaits power up at the beginning of August.

The disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have added new obstacles for industry across Europe on the road to Mars. Parachute and interface tests are expected to resume in October.

New missions to Mars launch from a broad range of nations – while the United Arab Emirates’ historic first mission to Mars lifted off from Japan last Sunday, China is preparing to launch tomorrow its first rover to Mars, known as Tianwen-1. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is set to take off with the Perseverance rover onboard next week, on July 30.

These missions focus on the search for evidence of life on the Red Planet and a better understanding of how Earth and Mars evolved so differently.

“We hope that ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover will help write a new page in Mars exploration by allowing us to study organic molecules on the spot,” says Jorge Vago, ESA’s ExoMars project scientist.

Dr Rosalind Franklin, the prominent scientist behind the discovery of the structure of DNA, one of life’s most important molecules, would have been 100 years old on 25 July this year. Her niece, also named Rosalind Franklin in her memory, points out that the X-ray diffraction expert “never conceived science as a race of competitors.”

After a visit to ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands last year, Rosalind believes that her aunt would have loved the ExoMars team spirit. “The work of ESA engineers on the rover struck me – they really do it for the results, not for themselves. This what Rosalind Franklin was all about: commitment and dedication to science,” said Rosalind from her home in California, US.

A series of talks and events is taking place around the globe this week to celebrate the centenary of this “woman of integrity who went after scientific discovery for the betterment of humankind”, as her niece describes her. The legacy of the scientist lives on today, and the ExoMars rover will help leave her symbolic footprint on Mars in 2023.

The ExoMars rover is part of the ExoMars programme, a joint endeavour between ESA and the Russian State Space Corporation, Roscosmos.
 

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However, the Red Planet is already being closely observed.

Since its launch in 2016 and its subsequent orbit insertion around Mars, an instrument named the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) has been used to enhance scientists' knowledge of the planet's surface.

The camera is travelling with the European Space Agency's (Esa) Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is studying methane and other rare gases in the Martian atmosphere.

The technical goal of CaSSIS is to look at potential landing sites for future missions - one being Esa's Exomars mission that is due to launch in 2022.

However, as part of its scientific activities, it has also observed a variety of minerals, canyons, craters and other geological features on the surface.

The images, which have been published on Instagram, also show frost deposits and dust storms.
 

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Those names, really ! Kazachok WTH ?

Take your time Europe - even being third behind China is better than screwing up.
 

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Those names, really ! Kazachok WTH ?

Take your time Europe - even being third behind China is better than screwing up.

Europe needs to take its time over the rover, we do not want a repeat of what happened to Beagle 2.
 

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Flyaway

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ESA’s Rosalind Franklin twin rover on Earth has drilled down and extracted samples 1.7 metres into the ground – much deeper than any other martian rover has ever attempted.
 

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ExoMars discovers hidden water in Mars’ Grand Canyon

“FREND revealed an area with an unusually large amount of hydrogen in the colossal Valles Marineris canyon system: assuming the hydrogen we see is bound into water molecules, as much as 40% of the near-surface material in this region appears to be water.”

The water-rich area is about the size of the Netherlands and overlaps with the deep valleys of Candor Chaos, part of the canyon system considered promising in our hunt for water on Mars.
 

Flyaway

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Crater Tree Rings

This feature could easily be mistaken for a tree stump with characteristic concentric rings. It’s actually an impressive birds-eye view into an ice-rich impact crater on Mars. Tree rings provide snapshots of Earth’s past climate and, although formed in a very different way, the patterns inside this crater reveal details of the Red Planet’s history, too.

The image was taken by the CaSSIS camera onboard the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on 13 June 2021 in the vast northern plains of Acidalia Planitia, centred at 51.9°N/326.7°E.

The interior of the crater is filled with deposits that are probably water-ice rich. It is thought that these deposits were laid down during an earlier time in Mars’ history when the inclination of the planet’s spin axis allowed water-ice deposits to form at lower latitudes than it does today. Just like on Earth, Mars’ tilt gives rises to seasons, but unlike Earth its tilt has changed dramatically over long periods of time.

One of the notable features in the crater deposits is the presence of quasi-circular and polygonal patterns of fractures. These features are likely a result of seasonal changes in temperature that cause cycles of expansion and contraction of the ice-rich material, eventually leading to the development of fractures.

Understanding the history of water on Mars and if this once allowed life to flourish is at the heart of ESA’s ExoMars missions. TGO arrived at Mars in 2016 and began its full science mission in 2018. The spacecraft is not only returning spectacular images, but also providing the best ever inventory of the planet’s atmospheric gases with a particular emphasis on geologically and biologically important gases, and mapping the planet’s surface for water-rich locations. It will also provide data relay services for the second ExoMars mission comprising the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok platform, when it arrives on Mars in 2023. The rover will explore a region of Mars thought once to have hosted an ancient ocean, and will search underground for signs of life.

 

Flyaway

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After missing its initial launch window in 2020 in part because of the pandemic, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission is on schedule for a launch in September.
ESA now believes it has solved the problems with the parachutes after some assistance from NASA. In December, ESA conducted high-altitude tests of the parachutes in Oregon, successfully deploying two different versions of the larger of the lander’s two parachutes, 35 meters in diameter.

The rover itself has completed tests, with what ESA described in a statement as only “some minor tuning” left to do. “The rover is ready, and together with the recent drop test success for the parachutes, we are positive to be in time for the September launch date,” Pietro Baglioni, ESA ExoMars rover team leader, said in the statement.
Those preparations, officials said, included repairing electronics on the descent module of the spacecraft. “It controls the main braking engine for the final landing on the surface of the red planet, and it’s one of the elements that caused the delay of the launch back in 2020,” said David Parker, director of human and robotic space exploration at ESA. There are ongoing tests of the electronics as well as software changes, he said.
 

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Beyond the humanity, looks like ISS needs a Plan_B orbit-lifting kit real-soon, and a lot more than exo-Mars has been blocked 'until further notice'.

IIRC, there's a lot of western launchers reliant on Russian engines, although there are enough in stock for now. UK's GPS-ish swarm is stuck at launch-site, can't even find another carrier. D'you wonder UK is hastily approving fast-track development of a small launch site in Scotland ??
 

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D'you wonder UK is hastily approving fast-track development of a small launch site in Scotland ??

We could always build a large launch site and launch our own large satellites, or even use Machrihanish for the Skylon spaceplane and launch satellites using that way.
 

Grey Havoc

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One problem though is that work on Skylon has been on hold for quite a while, primarily because of NASA's fear that it would complicate funding for their own in-house programs, for example SLS.
 

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One problem though is that work on Skylon has been on hold for quite a while, primarily because of NASA's fear that it would complicate funding for their own in-house programs, for example SLS.

NASA has nothing to fear from Skylon it would primarily be used for launching satellites as I have mentioned above and would not complicate the funding for SLS which is going to the Moon, Mars and the Asteroid belt. Instead NASA should be funding both programs.
 

Flyaway

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The rover apparently is possibly detachable from its Russian lander. But this will require a new lander to be built as well as new launcher all this will cost more time and money. Plus it probably requires finding a new space partner. In other words the rover isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
 

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