Red Planet Rover Set For Extreme Environment Workout

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A representative model of the ExoMars rover is all set for a test campaign to check and ensure if the rover can survive all the rigours associated with the launch and subsequent lading on Mars. The tests will also see if the rover can survive the conditions on the red planet.

As with every mission to the space, the mechanical structure of the rover, its electrical and thermal components, and its interfaces with the scientific instruments have to be checked thoroughly to ensure that the rover will survive its journey to the space and operates as expected at its destination.

The ExoMars rover, planned to land on Mars in 2021, will detect signs of life on the red planet by digging 2 meters deep (over six feet) into the Martian surface to see for any signs of past and present life protected from the destructive radiation that affects the surface of the planet today.

ExoMars is a joint endeavour between European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscosmos whose Trace Gas Orbiter is already at Mars and started its mission to search for the presence of any atmospheric gases to study if there is any link to active geological or biological processes.

The Trace Gas Orbiter will relay data that is collected by the rover back to Earth. The orbiter’s capability regarding with regard to carrying out the task is already demonstrated with its communication relays to NASA’s rovers which are currently on Mars.

A team of scientists have created a chemistry laboratory that is of the size of a toaster oven for the rover. The lab is called as the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer or MOMA.

A NASA scientist said that ExoMars rover’s two-meter deep drill will provide unique samples to MOMA which may contain complex organic compounds preserved beneath the surface from ancient time where life on Mars might have gotten started.

Even though it is known that the surface of Mars is inhospitable to any known forms of life today, scientists say that there is evidence that the climate on Mars might allowed the presence of liquid water. Earlier, NASA has sent rovers such as Opportunity and Curiosity and they have signs of pas t habitable environments.