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  ESA ExoMars 2020 rover, Roscosmos platform

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Author Topic:   ESA ExoMars 2020 rover, Roscosmos platform
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 40940
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2016 08:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency (ESA) release
Second ExoMars Mission Moves to Next Launch Opportunity in 2020

On 14 March 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly-developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus marking the first phase in the European-Russian ExoMars cooperation programme. The success achieved by Russian and European experts involved in ExoMars 2016 is the result of long and fruitful cooperation. The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft are due to arrive at Mars in October 2016.

The second ExoMars mission involves a Russian-led surface platform and a European-led rover, also to be launched on a Proton from Baikonur. Russian and European experts made their best efforts to meet the 2018 launch schedule for the mission, and in late 2015, a dedicated ESA-Roscosmos Tiger Team, also including Russian and European industries, initiated an analysis of all possible solutions to recover schedule delays and accommodate schedule contingencies.

The Tiger Team presented its final report during a meeting of the Joint ExoMars Steering Board (JESB) held in Moscow. Having assessed the possible ways to ensure successful mission implementation, the JESB concluded that, taking into account the delays in European and Russian industrial activities and deliveries of the scientific payload, a launch in 2020 would be the best solution.

ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner and Roscosmos Director General Igor Komarov discussed the ExoMars 2018 situation. After considering the Tiger Team report and the JESB recommendations, they jointly decided to move the launch to the next available Mars launch window in July 2020, and tasked their project teams to develop, in cooperation with the industrial contractors, a new baseline schedule aiming towards a 2020 launch. Additional measures will also be taken to maintain close control over the activities on both sides up to launch.

The successful implementation of both ExoMars missions will allow Russia and Europe to jointly validate cutting-edge technologies for Mars entry, descent, and landing, for the control of surface assets, to develop new engineering concepts and service systems that can be used by other Solar System exploration missions, and to carry out novel science at Mars.

Both Directors General have reiterated their resolve to implement ExoMars program successfully and step up Russian-European cooperation in Solar System exploration.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 40940
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-20-2017 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency (ESA) release
ExoMars landing sites to narrow to final two

On Monday 27 March, the 4th ExoMars Landing Site Selection Workshop will take place at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), The Netherlands. At the conclusion of the two-day meeting the Landing Site Selection Working Group will make their recommendation for which two landing sites should continue to be studied for the ExoMars 2020 mission.

The ExoMars rover and surface platform will launch in 2020. The primary objective is to land at a site with high potential for finding well-preserved organic material, particularly from the very early history of the planet.

Above: ExoMars 2020 rover and surface platform.

While the surface platform will remain stationary at the landing site, the rover is expected to travel several kilometers during its time on Mars, and to drill down to two meters below the surface to collect samples for analysis in the rover's onboard laboratory. Underground samples are more likely to include possible chemical biosignatures in a good state of conservation, since the tenuous martian atmosphere offers little protection from radiation to complex molecules at the surface.

At the previous landing site selection workshop, which took place in October 2015, the Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG) chose three landing sites for detailed study. At the time, the ExoMars rover was scheduled for launch in 2018 and Oxia Planum was identified as the primary choice.

Oxia Planum is a low-lying area that contains significant clay-bearing rocks. This indicates that water was once abundant here.

A further recommendation was made to also consider Oxia Planum as one of the two candidate landing sites for the backup launch opportunity in 2020, with a second to be selected from Aram Dorsum and Mawrth Vallis after due consideration.

Aram Dorsum is a flat region near the martian equator that includes the remains of a meandering channel and its surrounding flood plains. Mawrth Vallis contains many fine-layered, clay-rich sedimentary deposits that signal the presence of much water.

Now that launch is scheduled for 2020, the LSSWG must come together again and narrow this choice to just two sites.

Above: Potential landing sites for ExoMars 2020. Oxia Planum (indicated in green) was identified, at the 3rd Landing Site Selection Workshop, as one of the two candidate landing sites, with a second to be chosen between Aram Dorsum and Mawrth Vallis (both indicated in blue).

Each landing site team will present the results of their investigations. They will highlight the expected scientific diversity of the site, the accessibility of the interesting geological landforms, the driving conditions for the rover, and provide an example of a mission that could be conducted while traversing 3 kilometers on the surface.

On the second day of the workshop, the participants will vote on the relative merits of the three sites. The results will be taken into account but the final decision of which two sites to take forward will rest solely with the LSSWG. Their recommendations and reasons will be presented on the afternoon of 28 March.

The final decision about where to land the rover is expected to take place no later than mid-2019.

ExoMars is a joint endeavor between ESA and Roscosmos, with important contribution from NASA.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 40940
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-29-2017 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency (ESA) release
Final two ExoMars landing sites chosen

Two ancient sites on Mars that hosted an abundance of water in the planet's early history have been recommended as the final candidates for the landing site of the 2020 ExoMars rover and surface science platform: Oxia Planum and Mawrth Vallis.

A primary technical constraint is that the landing site be at a suitably low level, so that there is sufficient atmosphere to help slow the landing module's parachute descent.

Then, the 120 x 19 km landing ellipse should not contain features that could endanger the landing, the deployment of the surface platform ramps for the rover to exit, and driving of the rover. This means scrutinizing the region for steep slopes, loose material and large rocks.

Oxia Planum was selected in 2015 for further detailed evaluation. Although not yet complete, the investigation so far indicates that the region would meet the various constraints. In addition, one other site had to be chosen from Aram Dorsum and Mawrth Vallis.

After a two-day meeting with experts from the Mars science community, industry, and ExoMars project, during which the scientific merits of the three sites were presented alongside the preliminary compliance status with the engineering constraints, it was concluded that Mawrth Vallis will be the second site to be evaluated in more detail.

Around a year before launch, the final decision will be taken on which site will become the ExoMars 2020 landing target.

All of the sites lie just north of the equator, in a region with many channels cutting through from the southern highlands to the northern lowlands. As such, they preserve a rich record of geological history from the planet's wetter past billions of years ago, and are prime targets for missions like ExoMars that are searching for signatures of past life on Mars.

Oxia Planum lies at a boundary where many channels emptied into the vast lowland plains and exhibits layers of clay-rich minerals that were formed in wet conditions some 3.9 billion years ago.

Observations from orbit show that the minerals in Oxia Planum are representative of those found in a wide area around this region, and so would provide insight into the conditions experienced at a global scale during this epoch of martian history.

Mawrth Vallis is a large outflow channel a few hundred kilometers away from Oxia Planum. The proposed landing ellipse is just to the south of the channel. The entire region exhibits extensively layered, clay-rich sedimentary deposits, and a diversity of minerals that suggests a sustained presence of water over a period of several hundred million years, perhaps including localized ponds.

In addition, light-toned fractures containing 'veins' of water-altered minerals point to interactions between rocks and liquid in subsurface aquifers, and possible hydrothermal activity that may have been beneficial to any ancient life forms.

Mawrth Vallis offers a window into a large period of martian history that could probe the early evolution of the planet's environment over time.

"While all three sites under discussion would give us excellent opportunities to look for signatures of ancient biomarkers and gain new insights into the planet's wetter past, we can only carry two sites forward for further detailed analysis," says Jorge Vago, ESA's ExoMars rover project scientist.

"Thus, after an intense meeting, which focused primarily on the scientific merits of the sites, the Landing Site Selection Working Group has recommended that Mawrth Vallis join Oxia Planum as one of the final two candidates for the ExoMars 2020 mission.

"Both candidate sites would explore a period of ancient martian history that hasn't been studied by previous missions."

Efforts will now focus on understanding these two sites in the greatest possible detail. On the science side, this includes identifying specific sites where the rover could use its drill to retrieve samples from below the surface, and to define possible traverses it could make covering up to 5 km from its touchdown point in order to reach the maximum number of interesting sites.

On the engineering side, teams will continue to map the distribution and sizes of rocks and craters, and to document the angles of local slopes and the coverage of soft 'sand', to ensure the landing and traverses across the planet are as safe as possible. A detailed study will now begin for Mawrth Vallis.

The rover and stationary surface science platform contain suites of instruments that will conduct a thorough analysis of the landing site and its surroundings. While the rover will drive to different locations to analyze the surface and subsurface in search of clues for past life, the stationary platform will provide context imaging at the landing site, and long-term climate monitoring and atmospheric investigations.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 40940
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-21-2018 09:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
Astronaut Tim Peake launches competition to name ExoMars Rover

The UK Space Agency has launched a competition to name a rover which is being sent to Mars to search for signs of life, as the UK Government's Holiday Makers campaign kicks off, as part of the Year of Engineering.

Enter the competition | Terms and Conditions

Due to launch in August 2020 the UK-built rover is part of the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission which will look at how Mars has evolved and whether there may be conditions for life.

The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the Martian surface and drill down to determine if evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the destructive radiation that impinges the surface today. It will collect samples and analyse them with next-generation instruments, many designed by British engineers.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

"Exploring the surface of another planet is what many scientists and researchers dream of and now a British-built rover will travel the surface of Mars to answer some fundamental questions, and the public can be part of this exciting new chapter by naming the rover. We want creative and bold entries – I'll start the ball rolling with Rover McRoverface!

"The ExoMars mission showcases the very best of the UK's world-leading robotics expertise and this mission will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and space enthusiasts to be part of the journey as the UK continues to reach for the stars. We are truly entering the new Great British Space Age."

The competition was unveiled by British ESA astronaut Tim Peake at the Farnborough International Airshow today (Friday 20th July). Tim Peake said:

"Mars is a fascinating destination, a place where humans will one day work alongside robots to gather new knowledge and search for life in our Solar System.

"The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration and we're asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the Martian surface."

The UK is the second largest European contributor to the ExoMars mission, behind Italy, having invested €287 million in the mission and £14 million on the instruments.

Airbus Defence and Space is leading the build of the rover while the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory is leading on a key instrument known as the PanCam, a high resolution 3D camera which will be used to look at the terrain and rocks to try to detect signs of life.

Leicester University and Teledyne e2v are involved in work on the Raman Spectrometer with STFC RAL Space processing the data it delivers. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth.

The rover, which is due to land on Mars in March 2021, uses solar panels to generate the required electrical power, and is designed to survive the cold Martian nights with the help of batteries and heater units.

Another part of the ExoMars mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter, is already at Mars, looking for atmospheric gases that may be linked to active geological or biological processes.

In 2014 more than 4,000 people responded to a call to name Tim Peake's 6-month mission to the International Space Station, with Principia being chosen as the winner. The name referred to Isaac Newton's world-changing three-part text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of motion and gravity.

The Holiday Makers is a summer-long campaign to get kids making, inventing and having fun in the Year of Engineering. The campaign is supported by organisations such across the country, including the UK Space Agency, and there are lots of ways for families to get involved over the summer holidays, from free activities that kids can do at home, to events across the country and weekly challenges from partners like the Science Museum.

Engineering makes a major contribution to our economy, from driving advances in healthcare and communication to supporting our growing space industry, but the sector faces a major skills gap and lack of diversity – there is annual shortage of 20,000 engineering graduates each year, only 12% of the engineering workforce is female, and less than 8% comes from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

As well as the honour of naming the rover the winner of the competition will receive a tour for four people of the Airbus facility in Stevenage where the Mars rover is being built.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 40940
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-07-2019 08:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency (ESA) release
ESA's Mars rover has a name – Rosalind Franklin

The ExoMars rover that will search for the building blocks of life on the Red Planet has a name: Rosalind Franklin. The prominent scientist behind the discovery of the structure of DNA will have her symbolic footprint on Mars in 2021.

A panel of experts chose "Rosalind Franklin" from over 36 000 entries submitted by citizens from all ESA Member States, following a competition launched by the UK Space Agency in July last year.

The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to combine the capability to roam around Mars and to study it at depth. The Red Planet has hosted water in the past, but has a dry surface exposed to harsh radiation today.

Above: Rosalind Franklin with microscope in 1955. (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology)

The rover bearing Rosalind Franklin's name will drill down to two meters into the surface to sample the soil, analyze its composition and search for evidence of past – and perhaps even present – life buried underground.

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

What's in a name?

Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British chemist and X-ray crystallographer who contributed to unraveling the double helix structure of our DNA. She also made enduring contributions to the study of coal, carbon and graphite. ESA has a long tradition of naming its missions for great scientists, including Newton, Planck and Euclid.

"This name reminds us that it is in the human genes to explore. Science is in our DNA, and in everything we do at ESA. Rosalind the rover captures this spirit and carries us all to the forefront of space exploration," says ESA Director General Jan Woerner.

Above: The name of the European rover that will explore Mars in 2021 was revealed on Feb. 7, 2019 at Airbus, Stevenage, UK by Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister. (ESA/S. Corvaja)

The name was revealed this morning (Feb. 7) in the "Mars Yard" at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, in the United Kingdom, where the rover is being built. ESA astronaut Tim Peake met the competition entrants who chose the winning name, and toured the facility with UK Science Minister Chris Skidmore.

"This rover will scout the martian surface equipped with next-generation instruments – a fully-fledged automated laboratory on Mars," says Tim.

"With it, we are building on our European heritage in robotic exploration, and at the same time devising new technologies."

The rover will relay data to Earth through the Trace Gas Orbiter, a spacecraft searching for tiny amounts of gases in the martian atmosphere that might be linked to biological or geological activity since 2016.

Rosalind has already a proposed landing site. Last November a group of experts chose Oxia Planum near the martian equator to explore an ancient environment that was once water-rich and that could have been colonized by primitive life.

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