ExoMars – a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the state corporation “Roscosmos” for Surface , atmosphere and climate of Mars. One of the main objectives of development – search for signs of life. Previous research, conducted by a spacecraft were not able to answer many questions, in particular – from the Martian atmosphere of methane come from? On Earth, this gas is largely a product of biological processes, and to a much lesser extent – the result of volcanic or hydrothermal activity. ExoMars will explore the methane and other trace gases in the Martian atmosphere.
ESA beginning to explore the possibilities of the spacecraft send to the Red Planet in late 1970s – early 1980s. In June 2003, a Russian rocket “Soyuz-FG”, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, launched MarsExpress probe, which in December went into orbit around Mars, thereby implementing the first European project in this area. Earlier, in 2002, ExoMars project was initiated, which was considered as a specialized landing mission flagship class for the biological evaluation of the Martian environment and search for signs of life. To solve this problem on Mars in 2009, it was supposed to land rover Pasteur scientific equipment, named after the famous microbiologist Louis Pasteur.
Since the publication of the project had difficulties: the whole year delayed start financing, and mission launch deadline moved to autumn 2011. In 2005 the works were joined by the United States, offering to organize a relay scientific data through the Martian satellite MTO (Mars Telecommunications Orbiter), is in development.
As the design development was becoming more expensive, and the machine still heavier. When started funding the next phase of work, it was found that the mass of the interplanetary complex exceeded the planned media opportunities in November 2005 – the Russian “Union-2.1b”, and the Americans refused to create a relay satellite. Now orbiting and landing modules can be run in two “Unions” individually or together – one Ariane 5, but the money for it was not. In autumn 2006, the launch had to be postponed to November 2013.
In June 2007, the mission reviewed the concept: is now supposed to use the Ariane 5 rocket and payload Pasteur focus on the search for signs of Martian life, past or present
In spring 2008, the concept seemed to be finally formed, and the development team has reported about readiness to move to the detailed design of migratory system and the rover. In June 2008, an agreement was signed between ESA and the Russian Space Agency for the supply of the radioisotope heaters for the rover and resolution order to launch the “Proton”, if the need arise. NASA’s contribution was limited to a certain participation in the scientific program and to provide channels of communication with Earth.
At the end of November 2008 at the ESA Council of Ministers of the participating agencies have limited the possible European contribution to the sum of € 1 billion and urged to “seek opportunities for international cooperation” to complete the mission. In December, the US announced its readiness to combine its Mars program with the European one. Began “Martian novel,” the two agencies, which lasted roughly, but not for long – less than four years
During this time, the mission changed the configuration, the composition of the scientific equipment, launch vehicles and launch date. In October 2009, ESA has announced a new version of the plan – ExoMars decided to split into two stages: in 2016 flying the orbiter with instruments for studying small components of the Martian atmosphere and apparatus for relaying data to the rover, which left the second starting in 2018 on the American landing complex with the American rover MAX-C.
In spring 2011, it turned out that NASA is unable to fulfill its obligations under the joint program. Because of the ESA project failure risk turned his gaze to the east: the fall of the Europeans offered Roskosmos to take part in the program, but as not just a supplier of missiles and a full-fledged partner. Vladimir Popovkin, the head while the Russian space agency, interested in collaboration. In early December 2011 in Paris held talks representatives of Roscosmos, ESA and NASA. Following the meeting, two working groups were established: one analyzed the scientific component of Russia’s participation, and the second was engaged in adaptation rocket “Proton-M” to the mission requirements of
In February 2012, NASA announced its withdrawal from the ExoMars program due to lack of funds. In the ESA there was only one major partner – the Federal Space Agency. March 14, 2013 between the two agencies signed an agreement implies the full participation of Russian scientists and engineers in all the international scientific and technical groups within the project ExoMars, equal rights for Russian and European participants of the project on the scientific evidence, as well as further possible projects in the area of Jupiter Research and the Moon.
Russia was to provide start-ups and participate in the scientific program of both phases of the project, which was to create a common ground with the ESA system for receiving and processing of scientific information. In the first stage of the mission – ExoMars-2016 – Russian participation was limited to the provision of launch vehicles and two scientific instruments: the unit for the study of the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the neutron detector. The second stage of the mission – ExoMars-2018 – included a heavy European and Russian rover landing platform. ExoMars-2016 (mainly in terms of landing) was supposed to be a preparatory or “training” stage to the ExoMars-2018, which addressed the main scientific objectives of the mission on the surface of the Red Planet.
It should be recalled that the Soviet and Russian scientists are chronically unlucky with the investigations of Mars, as opposed to, for example, from the study of the Moon and Venus programs. The last possible to achieve significant scientific results and to achieve a number of global priorities, for example, in the first soft landing on the moon, delivering samples of lunar soil to Earth with the help of unmanned or the first in the world of shooting the surface of Venus. As for the Red Planet, the USSR has taken 16 attempts to send automatic Martian station, and only seven of them have ended in partial success. But Russian project “Mars-96” and “Phobos-Grunt”, on which high hopes have failed even at the stage of launching …
And now – ExoMars. He gives the Russian scientist is a good chance to realize a number of ideas developed earlier for missions, “Mars-96” and “Phobos-Grunt”, as well as for long-term project “Mars-NET”. Last to be deployed in various parts of the Martian surface about a dozen weather stations for the study of weather, radiation environment and seismic activity on the planet Aelita.
After the conclusion of an agreement with Russia to “freeze” the project ExoMars-2016: was approved the final composition of devices for the orbital module, and the summer of 2013. ESA signed a contract with the concern Thales Alenia Space for the construction of the orbital module and a lander. Total for the first phase of the project has been allocated 643 million €, and the total cost of both phases will exceed € 1 billion.
The scientific objectives of the first phase of the mission formulated in the following (according to priority):
- to investigate the composition of the atmosphere and climate planet with the orbiter, replying to a question about how much in the atmosphere of methane and how it is distributed;
- by measuring the concentration of gases in the atmosphere, to explore possible volcanoes of Mars from orbit;
- study the water distributed in the subsurface layer from orbit, and the internal structure and the climate of the planet – from the surface;
- to determine the theoretical suitability of the surface of Mars for life;
- scout areas ExoMars-2018 landing;
- to monitor the radiation situation on the trajectory of the flight, in orbit, and the planet’s surface;
- create united with ESA ground complex receive data and control interplanetary missions
interplanetary spacecraft ExoMars-2016 launch mass of 4332 kg is made up of two components: the orbital module TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) and landing demonstrator module entry and descent into Mars EDM atmosphere (Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module) Schiaparelli . Last named after the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who discovered in 1877 the so-called “Martian canal.”
orbital module TGO weight 3755 kg externally little different from the classical geostationary satellite. Nothing extraordinary in the exterior – the same box-like body with a high gain antenna and spread out to the sides by solar panels. The structure of scientific equipment includes four unique instrument:
- NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for Mars Discovery) – a set of three spectrometers (two infrared and one ultraviolet) for the identification of components of the atmosphere with high sensitivity. In the creation of the instrument, developed by the Belgian Institute for Space Astronomy in Brussels, attended by scientists from Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and the United States;
- ACS (Atmospheric Chemistry Suite) – complex for studying atmospheric chemistry, consisting of three spectrometers. According to the characteristic features of the spectra obtained can learn what substances make up the atmosphere, to determine their height and concentration of distribution. All ACS complex instruments developed at the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI) with the participation of organizations of France (Laboratory of Atmospheric Research, environment and space LATMOS CNRS the CNRS), Germany and Italy. ACS The results and NOMAD will complement each other;
- CaSSIS (Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System) – the system color stereoscopic shooting the surface to search for places that are potential sources of gas impurities, as well as the dynamic surface processes, for example, sublimation , erosion or volcanism. With the help of the device will be selected potential possible landing site lander EDM, updated information on the details of the relief and other possible dangers. The system developed by the University of Bern in Switzerland, with the participation of organizations from Italy and Poland;
- FREND (Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector) – epithermal neutron detector with high resolution. The device records and be mapped neutron flows from the surface of Mars that will be judged on the content of hydrogen (and, as a result, water and water ice) in the surface layer to a depth of one meter. Cards hydrogen prevalence are important for the choice of landing sites for future Mars missions. FREND created in IKI and in many ways similar to its predecessors – Russian instruments HEND and LEND for NASA Mars Odyssey missions and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
According to the abbreviated name lander EDM Schiaparelli weighing 577 kg is designed for practicing landing technology and research on the Martian surface. In the “transport position”, he closed a thermal “Cocoon” and reminiscent of the “flying saucer” with a diameter of 2.4 m, composed of two flattened cones. Schiaparelli crashed into the Martian atmosphere at a speed of 5800 m / s. After the initial aerodynamic braking into effect parachute system and the heat “cocoon” is reset in parts. Please leave the front screen. When the surface will remain little more than a kilometer, reset rear screen with a parachute, and will include three sets of brake motors, reduce the shutter speed to 0.5 m / s. At a height of 2 m engines are switched off and the module flops on the surface of Mars. Beat softens wrinkled special design at the bottom of the device – no special supporting “legs” have no Schiaparelli
For planting is scheduled area on Meridiani Planum (Meridiani Planum), not far from the landing of the American Mars rover Opportunity, which operates it for 12 years, more than 40 times higher than the planned service life.
Since the boarding EDM module should work only a few days, it is equipped with rechargeable batteries and has on board a number of scientific instruments:
- DREAMS (Dust Characterisation, Risk Assessment, and Environment Analyser on the Martian surface) – a set of sensors for measuring wind speed and direction in the terrain, humidity, pressure, temperature at the surface, atmosphere transparency and strength of the electric field;
- AMELIA (atmospheric Mars entry and landing Investigation and Analysis) – sensors on the environment data collection during atmospheric entry, descent and landing. After determining the actual path of descent of their information will improve the model of the Martian atmosphere.
- COMARS + (Combined Aerothermal and Radiometer Sensors Instrument Package) – combined complex aerothermodynamic and radiometric sensors for measuring heat fluxes acting on the tail fairing of the module during the descent;
- DECA (Descent Camera) – the camera to shoot at a stage descent. Will start to receive images soon after the reset windshield cowl. With a half-second intervals will be made 15 pictures, which are stored in the local memory, and after landing will be given first to the module computer, and then – to the earth;
- INRRI (INstrument for landing – Roving laser Retroreflector Investigations) – Laser angled reflector fortified outside the top of the module. It is intended for research conducted at landing and the future movement of the rover on the surface. At Schiaparelli is to search for the lander from orbit by laser ranging.
Complete module of scientific equipment will measure the wind speed, humidity, pressure and temperature at the landing site. Devices should get the first scientific data on the electric fields on the surface of the planet, which in combination with studies of the dust concentration in the atmosphere, will provide insight into the role of electric power in the process of occurrence of dust storms.
As noted above, in 2018 should begin the second phase of the project ExoMars, with a much wider participation of Russia: in him, our scientists and engineers are able to show how their art and to gain invaluable experience
interplanetary spacecraft ExoMars second stage consists of the migratory and the landing module. Last develop the Russian NGO named SA Lavochkin. Migratory module will provide a course correction, supply of electricity to the device and maintain the thermal regime. Interestingly, on-board computer that controls the flight to Mars, will be in the troop unit. The main objective of “commando” – delivery to the surface of the planet of the platform (also developed in Russia) and the European Mars rover. Last for the first time in the history of space research will be equipped with a full rig, capable of repeatedly retrieve rock samples from below the surface to a depth of 2 meters. The rover will be installed the device for the analysis of organic molecules, the radar to search for the lenses of subsurface ice, hydrogen detector to search for water, spectrometers and other instruments.