The European Space Agency (ESA) has established the ExoMars programme to research the question if life ever existed on Mars. The programme will investigate the Martian environment through two missions. The first one, consisting of an Orbiter plus and Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Modul will launch in 2016, and the second, featuring a rover, in 2018.
Video copyright: ESA/ATG medialab
ExoMars 2016 missions comprise the Trace Gas Orbiter and Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module, Schiaparelli. The mission launch is scheduled on a four-stage Proton-M/Breeze-M rocket from Baikonur in the period between March 14 to 25, this year, as shown in the video above.
About ten-and-a-half hours after launch, the spacecraft will separate from the rocket and deploy its solar wings. After two weeks, the high-gain antenna will be deployed, and Schiaparelli will separate from TGO seven months later, on October 16. Three days afterwards it will enter the Martian atmosphere and TGO will begin its entry into Mars orbit at the same time.
Animation visualizing part of the ExoMars 2016 mission’s cruise to Mars. The animation is depicted with the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, mated to the Trace Gas Orbiter. Video copyright: ESA/ATG medialab
Animation is visualizing the ExoMars entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, approaching Mars after separating from the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO). Schiaparelli is set to enter the Martian atmosphere on October 19, while TGO will enter orbit around Mars. Video copyright: ESA/ATG medialab
Featured image copyright: ESA/ATG medialab