Scientific News

ExoMars mission launch postponed to 2022

As already anticipated, given the difficulties that engineers and scientists have found during the tests, the ExoMars mission, which should see the arrival of a rover on Mars, has been postponed to 2022 (originally the launch to take place by 2020).
This was announced by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos with the justification that the necessary tests for all components of the spacecraft require more time.

The final objective of the mission remains the same: to investigate the possible presence of life on Mars, even in the past, and to understand more about the presence of water on this planet.
The rover that should land on the red planet has been named Rosalind Franklin and, among the various accessories, also boasts a drill that will allow you to make a hole in the Martian surface in order to look for important traces underground, traces that could perhaps indicate the presence of extraterrestrial life.

The further tests will be carried out not only on the instruments and parachutes that will facilitate the landing of the lander containing the rover but also on the software that will be used to manage the trip and the landing itself.
The two space agencies also point out that the delay is partly due to the worsening of the new coronavirus that is spreading in European countries.

“We have made a difficult but considered decision to postpone the launch until 2022. It is mainly driven by the need to maximise the robustness of all ExoMars systems and the force majeure circumstances linked to the exacerbation of the epidemiological situation in Europe, which has left our experts with virtually no possibility to travel to partner industries. I am confident that the steps we and our European colleagues are taking to ensure the success of the mission will be justified and will undoubtedly only bring positive results for the implementation of the mission,” says Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos.

The launch could take place between August and October 2022; the date is, of course, also conditioned by the so-called “launch windows” which allow favourable launches to the red planet only about once every two years.