The ExoMars Rover Is Set To Land On Mars, Drilling Into The Surface To Hunt For Life Signs


The ExoMars rover will be landing on Mars sometime in 2020. Oxia Planum is a flat plain rich in iron-magnesium clays, and this seems to be the first choice of the mission’s landing site, according to BBC.

Oxia Planum has a subject of discussion for quite a while, and this was the scientists’ choice because it provides a great opportunity to search for signs of life on the Martian planet.

The first meeting of the expert panel in 2014 concluded it “exhibits fewer problems than any of the other sites.”

There was water once in Oxia Planum

The surface which is rich in clay suggests that there was water that flowed in this particular location. As you know, any place that once had water could host biosignatures implying that there has been life there once.

There is also a second site called Mawrth Vallis which is still in contention for the ExoMars landing site.

But it appears Oxia Planum will get the approval because it provides a slightly safer option, with only a few challenging topographical challenges or slopes.

Analyzing the soil on Mars

After the ExoMars rover touches down and rolls off its lander, the suite of instruments included in it will allow it to visualize and analyze the soil on Mars.

The rover would drill up to a max of two meters in the ground and analyze biomarkers to understand the origins and evolution of life on Mars if there was any.

The ExoMars program is a collaboration between the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the ESA which has been established in order to learn more details about Mars, including potential signs of life here.

The first part of this project took place back in March 2016. It sent the Trace Gas Orbiter into Martian orbit, and they also landed an experimental module –Schiaparelli – on Mars soil but unfortunately crashed due to a glitch.


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