First Images From ESA’s New ExoMars Orbiter

Posted: Nov 29 2016, 11:05pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 30 2016, 8:34pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

First Images from ESA’s New ExoMars Orbiter Released
Close up of the rim of a larger crater near the Mars equator. Credit: ESA/Roscosmos/ExoMars/CaSSIS/UniBE
 

New orbiter sent back a total of 11 high resolution images as a part of ExoMars probe.

European Space Agency’s new orbiter has just tested out its instruments for the first time and sent back some of the most incredible images of Martian surface.

The orbiter, named Trace Gas Orbiter or TGO, was launched together with Schiaparelli lander on Mars in 2016. Both orbiter and its companion were scheduled to touch down Mars last month, but Schiaparelli lander lost and crashed on Mars. The orbiter, on the other hand, completed a successful landing on Martian surface on November 19.

Trace Gas Orbiter tested its instruments for the first time during its last two orbits from 20-28 November and captured some stunning high resolution images of Martian features, hinting at a great potential for future observations.

“We are extremely happy and proud to see that all the instruments are working so well in the Mars environment, and this first impression gives a fantastic preview of what's to come when we start collecting data for real at the end of next year,” said Håkan Svedhem, ESA's TGO Project Scientist. 

“We have identified areas that can be fine-tuned well in advance of the main science mission, and we look forward to seeing what this amazing science orbiter will do in the future.” 

During the test observations last week, TGO has taken a total of 11 images. The images reveal various structures on Martian surface including Hebes Chasma region, Arsia Chasmata and a rim of crater located near Mars equator. 

The images were captured using Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) – a camera mounted on the orbiter – and were taken 44 minutes before the orbiter made its closest approach to Martian surface.

ExoMars mission is a joint venture between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian state corporation Roscosmos and its ultimate objective is to search for the evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological processes on Mars. 

The mission will continue exploring Martian surface till 2022.

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