Not only that, Mars express his spectrometer found traces of methane in the Martian atmosphere. This trace gas can be created by volcanic processes, but also by decay processes of organic material. This could be an indication of life.
Planned to start in March 2016. Now, the two European-Russian Mission ExoMars should answer the question whether there was life on Mars or even still exists. For the first part of the mission, it is now in the direction of Kazakhstan. The country demonstrator Schiaparelli lands already in Baikonur. The trace gas Orbiter (TGO) is the day before Christmas Eve in Kazakhstan arrive. March 2016, both from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with a Proton rocket will start its journey to Mars, there to track trace gases such as methane.
The second part of the mission ExoMars is a Rover, which is supposed to fly to Mars in 2018.
“After a long and wild moving development time, it’s nice to see that ExoMars finally becomes a reality,” Dr. Oliver Angerer, head of exploration at the DLR space management is pleased. The core engine of TGO spacecraft – so structure, propulsion, thermal system and the central elements of the electrical wiring harness – was built by OHB-system in Bremen. Airbus defence & space has built among the heat shields and the thrusters of the Rovers to Schiaparelli.
TGO Thales Alenia Space has been integrated into the French Cannes at the company and went through a hard test campaign, there before the probe from there from his trip to Baikonur is assumed.
“We need to prevent biological contamination at any price” Europe Mission wants to detect life on Mars.
To find the sources of the methane on the red planet, it is extremely important that takes the TGO spacecraft. “Should any micro-organisms from Earth to Mars, that could distort our measurement results for ExoMars in 2018 and further missions in the future”, says Astrobiologist Dr Petra Raghu mountain by the DLR Institute of aviation and space medicine, which carried out all control measurements for the planetary protection measures of ESA together with her team. “We must avoid this at all costs.”
With on board the three Antonov transport machines, 2016 flying laboratory and measuring instruments for the ExoMars mission to Baikonur, is also a laboratory which the Cologne astro-biologists on-site hardware integration make final check-ups. Only in this way, recontamination of the biologically clean hardware can be excluded. TGO spacecraft is fully packed with high-tech measuring devices when starting in March. Your stereo camera has a resolution of five meters per pixel. She will make color shots of the surface in several kilometers wide strip.
In addition, the colour and surface stereo to create individual 3D-Stereo Microphones of locally interesting areas imaging system called CaSSIS. So, potential source regions to be traced by gas reservoirs of traces of. The neutron detector FREND (fine resolution epithermal neutron detector) is hydrogen on one meter below the Martian surface track and create such an accurate water ice map of Mars.
Experiments in different wind tunnels
The TGO spacecraft will deduct also the country demonstrator Schiaparelli on Mars. It is during his trip through the thin atmosphere of the red planet to collect important data and test technologies, which then 2018 will benefit the landing of the follow-on mission ExoMars. Schiaparelli measures the temperature distribution in the air stream at various points of the space vehicle and the pressure by sensors on the rear heat protection plate continuously during the entry into the Martian atmosphere. Schiaparelli was prepared for its safe landing on Mars in extensive experiments in different wind tunnels at the DLR sites Cologne and Göttingen. You can now begin the journey to the red planet.