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October 19 2016: Europe has a rendezvous with Mars

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19 October 2016: Europe has a rendez-vous with Mars

Released by the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of the ESA ExoMars mission, the Schiaparelli module is about to land on the red planet this Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at 4:48 p.m. (Paris time). Scientists from the Space Atmospheres, Environments and Observations Laboratory (called LATMOS-IPSL, UPMC/UVSQ/CNRS) and the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory (LMD-IPSL, UPMC/ENS/Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS) will monitor its entry into the Martian atmosphere and its landing in the region of Meridiani Planum.



LATMOS and LMD are involved in the construction and/or the operation of several instruments ExoMars program.


On the TGO Orbit

LATMOS and LMD involved on three ACS (Atmospheric Chemistry Suite) spectrometers which analyze the composition of the Martian atmosphere and its evolution. These spectrometers work in the infrared range which will allow them to detect water, methane and other minor components of the atmosphere.


On the Schiaparelli Module

LATMOS is responsible for Micro-ARES experience that will measure the electrical activity of the atmosphere of Mars which is suspected to have a role in the dust lifting process (the "dust devil") and oxidant formation. LMD was responsible for the calculation of the angle and descent into the atmosphere during the design of the module. It is now involved in the AMELIA  experiement (Atmospheric Mars entry and landing investigations and analysis) to characterize the atmospheric structure and its dust content along the descent trajectory of Schiaparelli module. The coupling a model with the data will also help to analyze the dynamics of the atmosphere in the path of the module.

For more information: (in french)

Laboratoire atmosphères, milieux, observations spatiales (LATMOS-IPSL, UPMC/UVSQ/CNRS)Nouvelle fenêtre

Laboratoire de météorologie dynamique (LMD-IPSL, UPMC/ENS/École polytechnique/CNRS)Nouvelle fenêtre (in French)


Exomars, the European Mars exploration program, has been conducted in cooperation between ESA and the Roscosmos Russian agency, and is based on two missions launched 2 years apart. It is the first attempt of Europe to send gear to land gently on the planet. The first mission of this program was a Proton rocket launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) on 14th March, 2016 at 10:31 am Paris time.


The Schiaparelli lander is equipped with sensors that will measure the performance during descent and landing. With no solar panels, that platform will work on the Martian surface for only a short period of time. However a set of sensors will collect environmental data for four Earth days using the remaining energy in its batteries.


Watch the ESA landing on the ESA site.Nouvelle fenêtre