Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How does the European ExoMars spacecraft plan to reach Mars without Russia?


Posted by Heba El-Sayed

Monday, March 20, 2023 at 05:00 AM

is cancelled Space travel For a number of reasons, from engineering issues to budget issues, but the ExoMars mission, a joint European-Russian mission to Mars, ran into complex political trouble last year when Russia invaded Ukraine.

The European Space Agency (ESA) had partnered with Russia’s space agency Roscomos to launch the mission, but that partnership soon ended due to what ESA described as “the human toll and tragic consequences of aggression against Ukraine.”

Without Roscosmos, the Rosalind Franklin rover is left without a launcher, and it’s unclear whether the rover will ever launch, Digitartlands reported.

But not wanting to abandon the project, the European Space Agency decided to build its own lander and hopes to send a probe to Mars by 2030.

This week, the European Space Agency shared more information about the mission’s plans and how it continues to test the rover.

With the European Space Agency estimating that it will take at least three to four years to develop a new lander, the rover is on the cusp of a long time coming.

It was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, then it was released in 2022, which was delayed due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Engineers are now continuing to test the rover alongside its twin, Amalia, and recently put it through a drilling test in a simulated Martian environment.

The rover will drill nearly 6 feet into the Martian surface, 25 times deeper than previous Mars missions, looking for surface features such as water ice.

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Recent experiments used thin layers of silica, sand, and volcanic soil to simulate Martian soil and test whether a drill could be used to collect samples.

The twin craft was able to pick up a sample, use its camera to take close-up photos of the sample, and crush the sample into a powder for scientific analysis.

The test shows that the rover is in good shape, but the entire process of designing and building the rover for the rover still needs to be worked out.

ESA employees talk about the decision to suspend the mission and how they are adjusting to the new plan. “The war in Ukraine has had a massive impact on our work,” said ExoMars Rover Director Pietro Baglione. “We were ready to go on an exoMars launch campaign, and suddenly we had to pause and rethink our plans.”

“It was very difficult for the team to digest this decision because they worked very hard in the last years,” Baglioni continued, “It was very difficult from a human point of view, but they understand the political changes, so they were able to reset it.”

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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