Roscosmos and European Space Agency’s ExoMars module Schiaparelli will touch down on the pockmarked Martian surface next month.
It will eject from its mothership on 16 October and – hopefully – land on a relatively smooth elliptical section on the Meridiani Planum three days later.
Launched in March of this year, Schiaparelli will show its makers how effectively it can land on Mars without injury.
It’ll use a combination of a heat shield, propulsion system and a crushable structure to land safely as it parachutes down in its six-minute descent.
Schiaparelli is also equipped with a toolbox of scientific instruments to measure the wind speed, humidity, pressure and temperature at its landing site.
But perhaps most exciting is that the robot will take the first measurements of the Martian surface’s electric fields. This relates to how much of a role electrical forces have in kicking up a dust storm.
The video above takes you on Schiaparelli’s journey to its landing ellipse, based on the data from ESA’s Mars Express mission.
Originally published by Cosmos as ExoMars robot’s journey from mothership to Mars surface
Anthea Batsakis is a freelance journalist in Melbourne, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.