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.
Anthea Batsakis is a freelance journalist in Melbourne, Australia.
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