[Update] The EXOMARS Schiaparelli lander crashed into the Red Planet’s crust at more than 300 kph on October 19th, leaving it in a cloud of smoke and with a huge crater left behind.
The orbiter was successful, and it is ready to conclude its mission until 2022.
The ESA still plans to launch another mission to Mars in 2020
[Original Story] Around seven months ago the ExoMars spacecraft began its journey to Mars.
The launch was part of a joint operation between the European Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency and is set to finally arrive at the red planet this week.
The spacecraft consists of two vehicles that includes the Trace Gas Orbiter and a lander that has been named Schiaparelli, they will both have different jobs to do at the red planet, later today the Trace Gas Orbiter will begin to change its course in order to make its way to Mars’ orbit on Wednesday, on that same day, Schiaperelli will begin its job.
But before then the two vehicles that made up the spacecraft separated from one another this morning after they have been connected to each other since the craft was originally launched in March.
Schiaperelli has been equipped with a series of parachutes, thrusters, and a heat shield that will help it make its way to Mars’ surface on Wednesday. Once the lander makes contact with the surface, it will begin to send back data to Earth about how its entry, descent, and landing went.
Shortly after that, it will run out of battery power.
That’s because Schiaperelli was only meant to be a demonstration, it was created to show the ESA’s and the RFSA’s plan to land on the surface, leading to the second phase of the ExoMars mission, where the two will attempt to land a rover on the surface of Mars, which was originally scheduled for 2018, but has since been pushed back to 2020.
You can bookmark this page and come back to watch the first phase of ExoMars land on Mars on Wednesday, the live stream will be viewable via the embed below.