When it comes to building a robot on another planet, perhaps the most important question is where to put the dang thing. Researchers behind the future ExoMars mission, which consists of a mobile and land, have now announced their preferred location on the Red Planet.
After several years of debate, scientists, according to a meeting in Leicester, the United Kingdom's National Space Center, chose Oxia Planum as the most suitable place. Although subject to further scrutiny, this may be a priority point to determine whether life is present in Mars.
Veronique Dehant, a principal investigator of principle research in the Lander radio-science experiment from the Royal Observatory of Belgium, told Gizmodo, # We can meet the mission objectives there, and the traffic intensity can be very good – to use a mobile car. .
ExoMars 2020 is the next part of ExoMars missions: a rover and landing platform to be sent as part of the joint mission of the European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos. The mobile and platform consists of vehicles measuring the dirt and atmosphere of the planet and will be separated immediately before the landing. The main goal of the mission is to find evidence of deep organic molecules in Martian impurities and perhaps biosignates, chemical symptoms of life.
Considering that the Earth has as much land as it is on the water, selecting a site according to an ESA information form has been a long process. Such a site should be scientifically interesting with signs of a wet past. It should also be located in a low area to maximize the current atmosphere to slow down the load that is decreasing with rockets and parachutes. And it should be safe enough to descend and be flat enough for a roaming rover.
Oxia Planum sits just north of Mars' equator. The channels that cut the clay are past waterways and a potential organic molecular reservoir.
The election follows a five-year period with an organized working group, followed by a call for nomination. The team has narrowed its options to two areas: Oxia Planum and Mawrth Vallis, further north. Both were scientifically interesting, and while the Mawrth Vallis had a slightly more diverse geology, the Oxia Planum won, at a lower altitude, could be less sparse.
Missionaries cannot identify a precise location for landing – instead they form an ellipse that serves as a target for landing components. The ellipse is relatively unobstructed, backs a crater in the corner and is about the size of Rhode Island. The chance of landing in a crater is relatively weak, says Dehant.
There is more to choosing a good spot for a successful landing, of course, the landing should go as planned. In 2016, the ExoMars Schiaparell lander crashed due to an error in its built-in computer.
Selecting a landing site determines the type of science that a traveler is expected to perform. Dehant told Gizmodo that Oxia Planum is not very different from Gale Crater, the ancient lakebed, who is presumably home to NASA's Curious rovercer. However, he hopes that Oxia Planum will be an efficient place to look for biosignates.
The explorer's experiments will not only look at dirt, but will be a set of tools to study the planet's climate and atmosphere. After all, the final results obtained from curiosity not only showed the organic molecules on the planet, but also a strange seasonal change to atmospheric methane.
Scientists interested in the Martian atmosphere have perhaps less requirements for building the mission. They just need an experiment to reach the work order.
As long as it was safe, as part of ExoMars 2016, Francesca Ferri Gizmodo, one of the chief researchers of the Atmospheric Introduction and Descent Research and Analysis of Atmospheric Mars, told the story. "This is the most important thing."[ESA]