ExoMars – UPSC Prelims

  • It is a two-stage mission:
  • First Stage:
    • Its first mission launched atop a Proton-M rocket in 2016 and consisted of the European Trace Gas Orbiter and test lander called Schiaparelli.
    • The orbiter was successful while the test lander failed during its descent to Mars.
  • Second Stage:
    • It comprises a rover and surface platform.
    • This second part of the mission was originally planned for July 2020. But it was postponed until September 2022 due to technical issues.
    • ESA and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were the original ExoMars collaborators, but NASA dropped out in 2012 due to budgeting problems.
    • Russia took NASA’s place in the project in 2013.
    • Now, this stage has been postponed further due to Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Objective:
    • The primary aim of the mission is to check if there has ever been life on Mars and also understand the history of water on the planet.
    • The European rover will drill to the sub-surface of Mars to collect samples from about 2 m of depth.
    • The main goal is to land ESA’s rover at a site which has high-potential for finding well-preserved organic material, particularly from the history of the planet.
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