ExoMars mission, which is intended to be a big effort to find life on Mars, will have a two-years delay due technical issues.
The life-scouting rover mission, that was supposed to launch in 2018, is a groundbreaking mission to search for life on Mars, but now Russia and Europe are looking at 2020 for the launch of the ExoMars mission, which is in joint development with European and Russian space agencies. The agencies explained in a statement that in four years from now will be when Earth and Mars are next best aligned for an interplanetary flight.
Despite Russian and European best efforts to try to keep the launch date for 2018, a panel decided –after considering their options – it would be better if they reschedule for July 2020. Program managers are going to be back to their project teams and industry contractors to work on new schedules, The Morning Ticker reported.
According to the reports, the new launch date will coincide with NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which involves Curiosity rover. The mission would allow NASA to evaluate the habitability of Mars and it might lead to a manned mission in the coming decades.
“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,” the statement reads.
The two phases of the ExoMars program
The rover is currently in the second phase of the ExoMars program, which the main objective is to find life. In order to accomplish its mission, it will drill up to 6-1/2 feet beneath the Martian surface, where any evidence of past or present life on Mars is more likely to be found, according to SpaceNews.
Trace Gas Orbiter is the first phase and was launched in March. Once it reaches Mars in October, the instrument will search for signs of methane gas because it could be a signal of microbial life, reported Science.
The orbiter carries a lander, Schiaparelli, with the mission to test crucial instruments in anticipation of the rover’s landing on the red planet, such as a parachute and a radar altimeter, a tool used to measure altitude.
Source: Christian Science Monitor