The device “trace gas Orbiter” program “ExoMars” gave the first images of the red planet taken on a new orbit. He arrived on a nearly circular orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometers a few weeks ago in search of gas, which may be associated with geological or biological activities on Mars. On-Board instrument CaSSIS made a delightful photograph of detail of an impact crater, during the trial include. The camera was activated March 20 and tested before the start of the main mission, which will begin on April 28.
“We gave a new tool in the early test phases, and, to cope with a few small difficulties, the tool was in great shape and ready to work,” says principal investigator CaSSIS Nicholas Thomas of the University of Bern in Switzerland.
The picture shows a 40-kilometer stretch of the Queen crater, located high in the Northern hemisphere. The bright material on the crater rim is ice.
“We were very pleased to see how good was this picture when the current light conditions,” says Antoine Pommerol, member of the research team CaSSIS, working on the calibration data. “Obviously, CaSSIS can make an important contribution to the study of the cycles of carbon dioxide and water on Mars”.
“We want to fully automate the production of images,” adds Nick. “As soon as we succeed, we will be able to quickly transfer the data to the scientific community for analysis.”
Also, the “ExoMars” will be regularly covering the activities of the unit.
Most of the work on the unit will carry the spectrometers “sniff out” atmosphere, while the camera will help to characterize the surface details, which can be connected with the gas sources.
The ExoMars is a joint venture of the European space Agency and Roscosmos. “Trace Gus the Orbiter” — the first of two missions of the program; the next is planned for launch in 2020 and will include a Rover and a platform for ground-based studies. Unfortunately, the second part of the “ExoMars” probe “Schiaparelli” — are unable to carry out a soft landing on the surface of the red planet and was damaged. However, a successful landing and was not the main purpose of the mission.