Main Theme Mars Exploration
Mission Responsibility ESA
Launch Date January 2016- May 2018
Current phase B2-Advanced C/D
The mission consists in two phases. In the first one, scheduled in January 2016, a probe (TGO) will remain in the orbit of Mars in order to investigate the presence of methane and other trace gases in the atmosphere, possible proofs of an active life presence, while a module (EDM), containing the weather station (Dreams) and other instruments, will land on Mars. In the second part of the mission, which will begin in May 2018, the goal is to land on the Red Planet an innovative rover able to move and equipped with instruments to penetrate and analyse the soil.
ExoMars has been conceived and realized with the main objective to acquire and demonstrate the autonomous European capability to execute a controlled landing on the Martian surface, operate in surface mobility, drill the subsoil to obtain samples and analyse them in situ.
The main scientific objectives of the mission are the following: to search for traces of past and present life on Mars, the geochemical characterization of the planet, knowledge of the Martian environment and its geophysical aspects and the identification of possible risks for future human missions
ESA has assigned to Italian industry the main leadership of both missions.
In addition to the overall system responsibility on all the elements, Italy has the direct responsibility for the development of the ExoMars 2016 descent module, called Schiaparelli, the two meters drill that will penetrate the Martian soil for the collection of samples, and the control center that will operate the Rover.
Concerning the scientific contribution, the proposed instruments with Italian PI’s and selected by ESA are:
• DREAMS (Dust characterization, Risk assessment and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) suite of sensors for the measurement of meteorological parameters (pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, solar radiation) and of the atmospheric electric field near the Mars surface. It will have the opportunity to study the environmental conditions on the planet in a particularly interesting period, when a strong dust presence in the atmosphere is foreseen (Francesca Esposito INAF / Osservatorio Astronomico di Napoli);
• AMELIA (Mars Atmospheric Entry and Landing Investigation and Analysis) modeling of the Martian atmosphere using the data collected by the sensors during the descent of the Schiaparelli lander on the Martian surface (Francesca Ferri CISAS- University of Padova);
• MA_MISS (Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies) spectrometer for the analysis of geological and biological evolution of the Martian subsoil, integrated in the drill, which will analyze the the mineralogical composition studies in the drill borehole’s walls (Maria Cristina de Sanctis (INAF / IAPS, Rome, SELEX GALILEO)
Instrument Multilateral Agreement Among The European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, The Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales, The National Space Institute of the Technical University of Denmark, The Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt E.V., The Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia, and The Science and Technology Facilities Council for the ExoMars Mission (signed at ASI on 05/05/08). Instrument Agreement between the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency Concerning the 2016 ExoMars mission (signed on 09/09/2013).