A mission to the Red Planet scheduled to liftoff next year is in jeopardy even before the countdown starts. A European Space Agency rover, ExoMars, meant to mine underneath the Martian surface to hunt for indications of life, has experienced several major glitches since it was initially consented in 2005 by ESA bosses. Prices have hiked, with the actual valuation of a few hundred million Euros increasing to over a billion. Particularly, there are issues with the parachute that will be utilized to land the rover of ExoMars, dubbed Rosalind, securely on the Martian surface.
An appeal is made to Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA by the ESA engineers asking assistance and tests of a new parachute design are anticipated to begin early in the new year in Pasadena. Pietro Baglioni, ExoMars Project Manager, said, “It’s going to be extremely tight to get the probe prepared for next summer’s liftoff. I deem we have only got a 50-50 possibility we’ll be capable of progressing as planned.”
The plan is to decelerate the lander utilizing a heat shield as it goes down through the outer extents of the planet’s thin atmosphere. That should decelerate it down to about 1,000mph from a primary 13,000mph. Then comes the time for the parachute to set out, decelerating the lander further until it attains 250mph. Lastly, a 2nd parachute will be deployed, getting Rosalind securely to the surface of the planet. If anything goes wrong at any one of those steps, the million-Euro lander will be shattered to flakes. The latest high-altitude Earth-based trials of the parachutes have turned out to be a failure.
Likewise, a capsule-shaped aeroshell has been delivered by Lockheed Martin to the Kennedy Space Center, FL, that will safeguard the Mars 2020 rover of NASA. The Mars 2020 rover will be enclosed by the aeroshell during its deep-space ride to the Red Planet, and guard it against the extreme heat as the system dives down through the Martian atmosphere to the Mars’ surface. The mission will liftoff in July 2020 and touch down on the Martian surface in February 2021.