|Operator||ESA & Russian Federal Space Agency|
|Major contractors||Orbiter: Thales Alenia Space
|Mission type||Orbiter, lander and rover|
|Launch date||2016 and 2018|
|Launch vehicle||Two Proton rockets|
|Mission duration||Schiaparelli EDM lander: 4 sols
Rover: ≥6 months
Orbiter: several years
|Orbital insertion date||2017 and 2019|
Russian lander: TBD
ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is a large Mars mission to search for biosignatures of Martian life, past or present. This astrobiology mission is currently under development by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The programme includes several spacecraft elements to be sent to Mars on two launches. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a EDM stationary lander called 'Schiaparelli' are planned for 2016. The TGO would deliver the ESA-built stationary lander and then proceed to map the sources of methane on Mars and other gases, and in doing so, help select the landing site for the ExoMars rover to be launched on 2018 on a Russian heavy lift Proton launch vehicle. The TGO will feature four instruments and will also act as the communication relay satellite for the follow up rover. In 2018 a Roscosmos-built lander is to deliver the ESA-built rover to the martian surface.  The rover will also include some Roscomos built instruments.
- 1 Mission history
- 2 Mission objectives
- 3 Launch vehicles
- 4 Mission profile
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Since its inception, ExoMars has gone through several phases of planning with various proposals for landers, orbiters, launch vehicles, and international cooperation planning, such as the defunct 2009 Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) with the United States. Originally, the ExoMars concept consisted of a large robotic rover being part of ESA's Aurora programme as a Flagship mission and was approved by the European Space Agency ministers in December 2005. Originally conceived as a rover with a stationary ground station, ExoMars was planned to launch in 2011 aboard a Russian Soyuz Fregat rocket.
In 2007, Canadian-based technology firm MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) was selected for a one-million-euro contract with EADS Astrium of Britain to design and build a prototype Mars rover chassis for the European Space Agency. Astrium was also contracted to design the final rover.
On July 2009 NASA and ESA signed the Mars Joint Exploration Initiative, which proposed to utilize an Atlas rocket launcher instead of a Soyuz, which significantly altered the technical and financial setting of the ExoMars mission. On June 19, when the rover was still planned to piggyback on the Mars Trace Gas Orbiter, it was reported that a prospective agreement would require that ExoMars lose enough weight to fit aboard the Atlas launch vehicle with a NASA orbiter.
Then the mission was combined with other projects to a multi-spacecraft programme divided over two Atlas V-launches: the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) was merged into the project, piggybacking a stationary meteorological lander slated for launch in 2016. It was also proposed to include a second rover, the MAX-C.
In August 2009 it was announced that the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and ESA had signed a contract that included cooperation on two Mars exploration projects: Russia's Fobos-Grunt project and ESA's ExoMars. Specifically, ESA secured a Russian Proton rocket as a "backup launcher" for the ExoMars rover, which would include Russian-made parts.
In December 17, 2009, the ESA governments gave their final approval to a two-part Mars exploration programme to be conducted with NASA, confirming their commitment to spend €850 million ($1.23 billion) on missions in 2016 and 2018.
In April 2011, because of a budgeting crisis, a proposal was announced to cancel the accompanying MAX-C rover, and fly only one rover in 2018 that would be larger than either of the vehicles in the paired concept. One suggestion was that the new vehicle would be built in Europe and take a mix of European and U.S. instruments. NASA would provide the rocket to deliver it to Mars and provide the 'Sky Crane' landing system. Despite the proposed reorganisation, the goals of the 2018 mission opportunity would have stayed broadly the same.
Under the FY2013 Budget President Obama released on February 13, 2012, NASA terminated its participation in ExoMars due to budgetary cuts in order to pay for the cost overruns of the James Webb Space Telescope. With NASA's funding for this project completely cancelled, most of these plans had to be restructured.
On March 14, 2013, representatives of the ESA and the Russian space agency (Roscosmos), signed a deal in which Russia becomes a full partner, contributing two heavy-lift Proton launch vehicles and an additional entry, descent and landing system for the rover mission in 2018. Under the agreement, Roscosmos was granted three asking conditions:
- Roscosmos will contribute two Proton launch vehicles as payment for the partnership.
- The Trace Gas Orbiter payload shall include two Russian instruments that were originally developed for Fobos-Grunt.
- All scientific results must be intellectual property of the European Space Agency and the Russian Academy of Sciences (e.g.: Roscosmos will have full access to research data.)
While the 2016 segment appears secure, the financial situation of the 2018 mission remains unclear. Russia's financing of ExoMars could be partially covered by insurance payments of 1.2 billion rubles ($40.7 million USD) for the loss of Fobos-Grunt, and reassigning funds for a possible coordination between the Mars-NET and ExoMars projects. On 25 January 2013, Roskosmos fully funded the development of the scientific instruments to be flown on the first launch, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).
ESA had originally cost-capped the ExoMars projects at €1 billion, (USD 1.3 billion) but the withdrawal of the U.S. space agency (NASA) and the consequent reorganisation of the ventures will probably add several hundred million euros to the sum so far raised. So on March 2012, member states instructed the agency's executive to look at how this shortfall could be made up. One possibility is that other science activities within ESA may have to step back to make ExoMars a priority. On September 2012 it was announced that new ESA members, Poland and Romania will be contributing up to €70 million to the ExoMars programme.
- to search for possible biosignatures of Martian life, past or present.
- to characterize the water and geochemical distribution as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface.
- to study the surface environment and identify hazards to future manned missions to Mars.
- to investigate the planet's subsurface and deep interior to better understand the evolution and habitability of Mars.
- achieve incremental steps ultimately culminating in a sample return flight.
The technological objectives to develop are:
- landing of large payloads on Mars.
- to exploit solar electric power on the surface of Mars.
- to access the subsurface with a drill able to collect samples down to a depth of 2 metres (6.6 ft)
- to develop surface exploration capability using a rover.
The launcher for both missions is the heavy-lift Proton, which is a four-stage rocket that was previously used to launch the Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir and some International Space Station components.
ExoMars is a two-mission project that is considered as a single programme at ESA. According to current plans, the ExoMars project will comprise four spacecraft: two stationary landers, one orbiter and one rover. All mission elements will be sent in two launches.
|Contributing agency||First launch in 2016||Second launch in 2018|
|Proton rocket||Proton rocket|
|Most instruments for the TGO
||Russian landing system & some rover instruments|
|ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter||ExoMars rover|
|Schiaparelli EDM lander|
First launch (2016)
Trace Gas Orbiter
The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) will be a Mars telecommunications orbiter and atmospheric gas analyzer mission for launch on January 2016. It will deliver the ExoMars Schiaparelli EDM lander and then proceed to map the sources of methane on Mars and other gases, and in doing so, help select the landing site for the ExoMars rover to be launched on 2018. The presence of methane in Mars' atmosphere is intriguing because its likely origin is either present-day life or geological activity. Upon the arrival of the rover in 2018/2019, the orbiter would be transferred into a lower orbit where it would be able to perform analytical science activities as well as provide the Schiaparelli EDM lander and ExoMars rover with telecommunication relay. NASA will provide an Electra telecommunications relay and navigation instrument to assure communications between probes and rovers on the surface of Mars and controllers on Earth. The TGO would continue serving as a telecommunication relay satellite for future landed missions until 2022.
Schiaparelli EDM lander
The Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) called 'Schiaparelli', will provide ESA and Roscosmos with the technology for landing on the surface of Mars with a controlled landing orientation and touchdown velocity; key technologies for the 2018 mission. After entering the Martian atmosphere, the module will deploy two parachutes and will complete its landing by using a closed-loop guidance, navigation and control system based on a Radar Doppler Altimeter sensor and on-board Inertial Measurement Units. The final stages of the landing will be performed using pulse-firing liquid-fuel engines. About a metre above ground, the engines will turn off. The platform will land on a crushable structure, designed to deform and absorb the final touchdown impact. Throughout the descent, the Entry and Descent Science Team will perform investigations using various sensors to record a number of atmospheric parameters.
The landing will take place during the dust storm season, this will provide a unique chance to characterize a dust-loaded atmosphere during entry and descent, and to conduct surface measurements associated with a dust-rich environment. Once on the surface, it will measure the wind speed and direction, humidity, pressure and surface temperature, and determine the transparency of the atmosphere. It will also make the first measurements of electrical fields at the planet's surface. A descent camera is included in the payload.
At first, the Russians offered to contribute a 100 watt radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) power source for the EDM lander to allow it to monitor the local surface environment for a full Martian year, but the Russians finally opted for the use of a regular electric battery with enough power for four Martian days.
The name refers to 19th century astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, best known for describing the surface features of Mars. He was also the first astronomer to determine the relationship between comet debris and yearly meteor showers.
- Diameter: 2.4 m (7.9 ft)
- Height: 1.8 m (5.9 ft)
- Mass: 600 kg (1,300 lb)
Schiaparelli EDM surface payload
The ExoMars 'Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module' (EDM), called 'Schiaparelli', is a stationary lander originally planned to carry a group of eleven instruments collectively called the "Humboldt payload", that would be dedicated to investigate the geophysics of the deep interior. But a payload confirmation review in the first quarter of 2009 resulted in a severe descope of the lander instruments, and the Humboldt suite was cancelled entirely.
The latest EDM surface payload, based on the proposed meteorological DREAMS (Dust Characterization, Risk Assessment, and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) package, consists of a suite of sensors to measure the wind speed and direction (MetWind), humidity (MetHumi), pressure (MetBaro), surface temperature (MarsTem), the transparency of the atmosphere (Optical Depth Sensor; ODS), and atmospheric electrification (Atmospheric Radiation and Electricity Sensor; MicroARES).
The DREAMS payload will function for 2 or 3 days as an environmental station for the duration of the EDM surface mission after landing. DREAMS will provide the first measurements of electric fields on the surface of Mars (with MicroARES). Combined with measurements (from ODS) of the concentration of atmospheric dust, DREAMS will provide new insights into the role of electric forces on dust lifting, the mechanism that initiates dust storms. In addition, the MetHumi sensor will complement MicroARES measurements with critical data about humidity; this will enable scientists to better understand the dust electrification process.
In addition to the surface payload, a camera called DECA (Entry and Descent Module Descent Camera) on the EDM will deliver additional scientific data and exact location data in the form of images. DECA is a reflight of the Visual Monitoring Camera VMC of the Herschel/Planck mission.
Second launch (2018)
Russian landing system
The second mission, scheduled for launch in May 2018, will have a 1800 kg Russian landing system derived from the 2016 Schiaparelli EDM lander, to place the ExoMars rover on the surface of Mars. This lander module will be built 80% by Russian company Lavochkin, and 20% by ESA. Lavochkin will produce most of the landing system's hardware, while ESA will handle elements such as the guidance, radar and navigation systems. The Russians plan to equip a meteorological station on the rover's lander that will be powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator - a nuclear battery. This will give the weather sensors long-term power.
Lavochkin's current strategy is to use two parachutes; one will open while the module is still moving at supersonic speed, and another will deploy once the probe has been slowed down to subsonic velocity. The heat shield will eventually fall away from the entry capsule to allow the ExoMars rover, riding its retro-rocket-equipped lander, to come for a soft landing on legs or struts. The lander will then deploy ramps for the rover to drive down.
Proposed landing sites
A request will go out in fall 2013 to the scientific community, asking for expressions of interest to join a working group to select the landing site for the rover. The process should take a couple of years to complete. The expected landing error ellipse will be about 100km by 15km.
As of November 2007, some of the rover's potential landing sites are:
The 2009 discovery of methane sources on the planet makes them a high value target for exploration. The presence of methane is intriguing because its likely origin is either present-day life or geological activity; confirmation of either would be a major discovery. Methane occurs in extended plumes, and the profiles imply that the methane was released from discrete regions. The profiles suggest that there may be two local source regions, the first centered near 30° N, 260° W and the second near 0°, 310° W. To determine the optimal landing site and secure telecommunications, it was decided to include the Trace Gas Orbiter in the 2016 launch in order to map beforehand what appears to be seasonal methane production. The rover could then investigate the methane sources identified by the orbiter.
The ExoMars rover is an autonomous six-wheeled terrain vehicle planned for Mars.
- Beagle 2 lander
- Biological Oxidant and Life Detection mission
- Exploration of Mars
- Icebreaker Life - astrobiology lander
- Life on Mars
- Mars Exploration Rover - mission with two rovers
- Mars sample return mission
- Mars Science Laboratory rover
- Viking program
- Smith, Michael, ed. (10 September 2009). "Mars Trace Gas Mission Science Rationale & Concept". Presentation to the NRC Decadal Survey Mars Panel. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- "ESA Proposes Two ExoMars Missions". Aviation Week. October 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- "Europe". BBC News. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Europe still keen on Mars missions". BBC News. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "ExoMars: ESA and Roscosmos set for Mars missions". European Space Agency (ESA). 14 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "ESA Ruling Council OKs ExoMars Funding". Space News. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "ExoMars". Russian Space Web. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- "NASA budget boosts manned space, cuts Mars exploration". C Net News. February 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15. ""Tough choices had to be made," Bolden said. "This means we will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 an 2018 ExoMars mission that we had been exploring with the European Space Agency."
- "Have Europe's Martian exploration plans been derailed by America?". National Space Centre (MSN News). 15 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
- "Europe's ExoMars rover...". Space Today Online. August 28, 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
- "B.C. robotics firm lands Martian contract". CanWest News Service.
- NASA Could Take Role in European ExoMars Mission June 19, 2009
- Amos, Jonathan (12 October 2009). "Europe's Mars plans move forward". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
- "ESA Proposes Two ExoMars Missions". Aviation Week. October 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- "Agreement between ESA and Roscosmos signed at "MAKS 2009"". WAPA (Avio News). 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "ESA, Roscosmos Strike Mars Deal". Red Orbit. 20 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "ESA Approves Collaborative Mars Program with NASA". Space News. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- "US and Europe mull single 2018 Mars rover". BBC News. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- "NASA Units Hope For Robotic Mars Mission In 2018". Aviation Week. February 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "Experts React to Obama Slash to NASA’s Mars and Planetary Science Exploration". Universe Today. February 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- Wall, Mike (22 August 2012). "When Exploring Other Planets, International Cooperation Is Key". Nature (Space.com). Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Insurance from "Phobos-Grunt" to fly to Mars". Gazeta (in Russian). 30 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- "Russia's participation in the "ExoMars" does not cancel the plans for the "Phobos-Grunt-2"". RIA Novosti. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Russia, Europe Sign Mars Probe Project Deal.
- "Europe Ready To Sign Final Contract for 'Drip-fed' ExoMars Mission". Space News. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
- "The Mars-NET project". Retrieved 2012-04-18. "Possible coordination between Mars-NET and European ExoMars project."
- "Russia takes a two-pronged approach to space exploration". Russia & India Report. April 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "Roskosmos funds creation of instruments for ExoMars mission". The Voice of Russia. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "ESA Eyeing Hodgepodge of Funding Sources To Save ExoMars Mission". Space News. 31b May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- ExoMars Wins One-month Reprieve (May 16, 2012)
- "Poland Tripling Space Spending in Bid To Boost Economy". Space News. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Appropriators Blocking Mars Mission Move". Aviation Week. March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
- "Scientific objectives - ExoMars". European Space Agency (ESA). November 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- "Europe Joins Russia on Robotic ExoMars". Aviation Week. Mar 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- "ExoMars program gathers strength". The Voice of Russia. Jul 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "U.S., Europe Won’t Go It Alone in Mars Exploration". Spacew News. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
- Olivier Witasse, Mark Allen (June 16, 2011), "2016 ESA/NASA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter", MEPAG June 2011, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, retrieved 2011-06-29 (PDF)
- "ESA Names ExoMars Lander ‘Schiaparelli’". Space Fellowship. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-08.
- J Vago et al., "ExoMars, ESA’s next step in Mars exploration", ESA Bulletin magazine, number 155, August 2013, pages 12-23
- "Entry, Descent and Surface Science for 2016 Mars Mission". Science Daily. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- "The ExoMars Program - Implementing the EXM objectives by remaining compliant with budget" (PDF). ExoMars mission status. ESA. July 2009. pp. 23 pp. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- "Russian Export Rules Force Changes to 2016 ExoMars Mission". Space News. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- "ExoMars". Russian Space Web. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- "The ExoMars Instruments". European Space Agency. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- Amos, Jonathan (15 June 2009). "Europe's Mars mission scaled back". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "EDM surface payload". European Space Agency (ESA). 19 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- F. Ferri; F. Forget, S.R. Lewis, and O. Karatekin. (16-22 June 2012), "ExoMars Atmospheric Mars Entry and Landing Investigations and Analysis (AMELIA)" (PDF), ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Science, Toulouse, France, retrieved 2013-10-22
- Amos, Jonthan (21 June 2013). "Looking forward to Europe's 'seven minutes of terror'". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- "NASA drops ExoMars missions in 2013 budget". Optics. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
- Spacewatch: Uncertainties for ExoMars
- Amos, Jonathan (11 October 2013). "Red destination: Choosing an ExoMars landing site". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- "Europe eyes Mars landing sites". BBC News. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Mumma, Michael J.; et al. (20 February 2009). "Strong Release of Methane on Mars in Northern Summer 2003". Science 323 (5917): 1041–1045. Bibcode:2009Sci...323.1041M. doi:10.1126/science.1165243. PMID 19150811.
- Hand, Eric (March 3, 2009). "NASA pursues Mars methane orbiter". The Great Beyond (Nature). Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- "ExoMars Status". 20th MEPAG Meeting. European Space Agency. 3–4 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to ExoMars.|
- Official website
- ESA main web site
- Raman-LIBS spectrometer for ExoMars Combined Raman-LIBS spectrometer for ExoMars
- The ExoMars project at RussianSpaceWeb.com