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What is ExoMars?

Topics Covered:  Awareness in space.

What is ExoMars?

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and components of the mission, objectives and the rover of the mission.

For Mains: Significance and relevance of the mission.

Context: Launch of ExoMars rover delayed to 2022.

About the rover:

  • The European-built Rosalind Franklin rover, named for the famed British chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work contributed to DNA research, recently passed final pre-launch thermal and vacuum tests at an Airbus facility in Toulouse, France.
  • Rosalind Franklin is the first European Mars rover.

About ExoMars:

It is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

The primary goal of the ExoMars programme is to address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars.


 Components of the mission:

The programme comprises two missions.

  • The first launched in March 2016 and consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module.
  • TGO’s main objectives are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes. The Schiaparelli probe crashed during its attempt to land on Mars.
  • The second, comprising a rover and surface platform, is planned for 2022. Together they will address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars.

Other Mars Missions:

Despite the delay in the second ExoMars launch until 2022, three other Mars missions remain scheduled for launch during this year’s planetary launch window in July and August.

  1. NASA’s Perseverance rover, formerly known as Mars 2020, will take off in July from Cape Canaveral.
  2. A Chinese Mars rover is also being prepared for launch later this year.
  3. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope Mars orbiter is slated to launch on a Japanese H-2A rocket this summer.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. InSight vs ExoMars vs Mangalyaan- objectives.
  2. Environmental composition of Mars vs Earth.
  3. Soft landing mission on Mars so far.
  4. Marsquakes vs Earthquakes.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and objectives of ExoMars mission.

Sources: the Hindu.