Nach sieben Monaten Flugzeit und rund 500 Millionen Kilometern ist die Sonde Schiaparelli auf dem Mars angekommen. Das geht aus Informationen der Europäischen Raumfahrtbehörde Esa hervor.Ob die Landung aber auch geglückt und die Sonde unbeschädigt ist, steht noch nicht fest. "Wir müssen noch ein bisschen warten, was mit dem Testlander passiert", sagte Esa-Chef Jan Wörner in der Flugleitzentrale in Darmstadt. Offenbar sind die Wissenschaftler mit den gesendeten Daten nicht ganz zufrieden. Sie seien "nicht beweiskräftig", der Status der Sonde sei "unklar".
EDM ist der Kurzcode für Schiaparelli und steht für "entry, descent and landing demonstration module", also Testmodul für Eintritt, Abstieg und Landung.
Für die Forscher war die Landung eine nervenaufreibende Angelegenheit, denn in den letzten Minuten konnten sie nicht mehr eingreifen. Das hängt auch mit der rund zehnminütigen Zeitverzögerung zusammen, mit der Signale vom Mars auf der Erde eintreffen.
"Deswegen sprechen die Amerikaner bei diesen Manövern von den Minuten des Schreckens", hatte der Esa-Ingenieur Jorge Vago zuvor erklärt. "In unserem Fall sind es sechs Minuten" - die Landesequenz sei auf sechs Minuten programmiert worden. Doch der 54-Jährige war zuversichtlich: "Unsere Simulationen geben uns eine Erfolgschance von fast 98 Prozent."
Allerdings: Selbst die komplexesten Computermodelle können nicht alle Eventualitäten in ihren Formeln mit einkalkulieren - das unkontrollierte Hopsen der Landefähre Philae auf dem Kometen Tschuri ist dafür das beste Beispiel.
18:53 CEST: The ExoMars/TGO spacecraft completed its critical orbit-insertion manoeuvre at Mars today and its signals were received by ground stations at 18:34 CEST, just as expected. The timely re-acquisition indicates the engine burn went as planned, and mission controllers are waiting for a detailed assessment from the flight dynamics specialists at ESOC to confirm it.
Teams monitoring the Schiaparelli lander continue waiting for indication of the lander’s progress. Recording of the lander’s beacon signal during descent by ESA’s Mars Express orbiter was inconclusive. Engineers are waiting for the next signal receipt slot, which will be provided by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will overfly the Schiaparelli landing site between about 18:49 and 19:03 CEST, and downlink any received signals at around 20:00 CEST.
18:35 CEST: ACQUISITION OF SIGNAL from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter at 18:34 CEST, as expected, after it emerged from behind Mars.
17:28 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the orbit insertion manoeuvre of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter should have ended but the spacecraft is now behind Mars on the line of sight from Earth. Acquisition of signal is expected when TGO emerges from behind Mars after 18:32 CEST.
17:12 CEST: End of planned Schiaparelli transmission. Initial signals were received via the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) as Schiaparelli descended to the surface of Mars, but no signal indicating touchdown yet. This is not unexpected due to the very faint nature of the signal received at GMRT. A clearer assessment of the situation will come when ESA's Mars Express will have relayed the recording of Schiaparelli's entry, descent and landing.
16:50 CEST: Signals from Mars take 9 minutes 47 seconds to reach Earth today, so the teams are waiting for the first indications that the entry, descent and landing events actually happened at Mars. It may take some hours to get official confirmation that Schiaparelli has landed on the Red Planet. Stay tuned.
16:48 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the Exomars Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing demonstrator module should now switch off its thrusters to avoid touching the surface with the heat plumes from the thrusters, or hitting a rock on the surface while the engines are still on. After switching off the thrusters, Schiaparelli should proceed to touchdown on the surface of Mars.
16:47 CEST: According to nominal timeline, Schiaparelli should be jettisoning its parachute & back shell, then igniting thrusters.
16:46 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the front shield of the heat shield protecting Schiaparelli should now be jettisoned.
16:45 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the Exomars Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing demonstrator module should now be deploying its parachute.
16:43 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the Exomars Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing demonstrator module should now be undergoing maximum heating.
16:42 CEST: According to nominal timeline, the Exomars Schiaparelli entry, descent, and landing demonstrator module should be entering the atmosphere of Mars now.
16:17 CEST: ExoMars Flight Director Michel Denis confirms that the signal from the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator module is coming through strong and clear as it falls gently towards Mars via the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune, India.
15:43 CEST: Confirmation received that the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator module has woken up, as expected, ahead of attempting to land on Mars in about an hour. The confirmation arrived via a very faint signal received by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune, India.
15:15 CEST: Ignition of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is confirmed! The orbiter has started its main manoeuvre for Mars orbit insertion. The burn with the 424 newton engine on board is expected to last for about 139 minutes (over two hours) and will slow down TGO by over 5500 km/h in order to let the spacecraft be captured by the Red Planet's gravitational field.
14:41 CEST: The ExoMars/TGO orbiter is in great shape! ESA Flight Director Michel Denis is now on console in the Main Control Room at the ESOC mission control centre with the full mission control team for a 12-hour shift. TGO has begun turning away from Earth pointing to align its engine nozzle into the direction of flight. When it ignites (confirmation of ignition is expected on ground at about 15:15 CEST), its thrust will begin slowing the craft. The burn will last about 139 minutes. It is less than one hour until Schiaparelli wakes itself up at about 15:27 CEST.
07:35 CEST: The ExoMars/TGO orbiter is in great shape and ready to swing into orbit around Mars, while the Schiaparelli lander is programmed to wake up at about 15:37 CEST for its landing demonstration mission. There is a cooperative international 'listening in' campaign ready to monitor signals from the landing module as it conducts the critical entry, descent and landing sequence today, leading to touch down and the start of surface science at about 16:48 CEST. The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India will listen from Earth, while a fleet of NASA and ESA orbiters listen from Mars orbit. Read details via Listening to an alien landing.
ExoMars approaching Mars
EXOMARS TGO REACHES MARS ORBIT WHILE EDM SITUATION UNDER ASSESSMENT
19 October 2016
The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of ESA’s ExoMars 2016 has successfully performed the long 139-minute burn required to be captured by Mars and entered an elliptical orbit around the Red Planet, while contact has not yet been confirmed with the mission’s test lander from the surface.
TGO’s Mars orbit Insertion burn lasted from 13:05 to 15:24 GMT on 19 October, reducing the spacecraft’s speed and direction by more than 1.5 km/s. The TGO is now on its planned orbit around Mars. European Space Agency teams at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, continue to monitor the good health of their second orbiter around Mars, which joins the 13-year old Mars Express.
The ESOC teams are trying to confirm contact with the Entry, Descent & Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), Schiaparelli, which entered the Martian atmosphere some 107 minutes after TGO started its own orbit insertion manoeuvre.
The 577-kg EDM was released by the TGO at 14:42 GMT on 16 October. Schiaparelli was programmed to autonomously perform an automated landing sequence, with parachute deployment and front heat shield release between 11 and 7 km, followed by a retrorocket braking starting at 1100 m from the ground, and a final fall from a height of 2 m protected by a crushable structure.
Prior to atmospheric entry at 14:42 GMT, contact via the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), the world’s largest interferometric array, located near Pune, India, was established just after it began transmitting a beacon signal 75 minutes before reaching the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere. However, the signal was lost some time prior to landing.
A series of windows have been programmed to listen for signals coming from the lander via ESA’S Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Atmosphere & Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) probes. The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) also has listening slots.
If Schiaparelli reached the surface safely, its batteries should be able to support operations for three to ten days, offering multiple opportunities to re-establish a communication link.
TGO is equipped with a suite of science instruments in order to study the Martian environment from orbit. Although mostly a technology demonstrator, Schiaparelli is also carrying a small science payload to perform some observations from ground.
ExoMars 2016 is the first part of a two-fold international endeavour conducted by ESA in cooperation with Roskosmos in Russia that will also encompass the ExoMars 2020 mission. Due in 2020, the second ExoMars mission will include a Russian lander and a European rover, which will drill down to 2 m underground to look for pristine organic material.
Media are invited to a briefing tomorrow at 10:00 CEST at ESA Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.
Update: 20.10.2016 / 9.15 MESZ
Update: 13.00 MESZ
Schiaparelli with parachute deployed
SCHIAPARELLI DESCENT DATA: DECODING UNDERWAY
20 October 2016
Essential data from the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander sent to its mothership Trace Gas Orbiter during the module’s descent to the Red Planet’s surface yesterday has been downlinked to Earth and is currently being analysed by experts.
Early indications from both the radio signals captured by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an experimental telescope array located near Pune, India, and from orbit by ESA’s Mars Express, suggested the module had successfully completed most steps of its 6-minute descent through the martian atmosphere. This included the deceleration through the atmosphere, and the parachute and heat shield deployment, for example.
But the signals recorded by both Pune and Mars Express stopped shortly before the module was expected to touchdown on the surface. Discrepancies between the two data sets are being analysed by experts at ESA’s space operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
The detailed telemetry recorded by the Trace Gas Orbiter was needed to better understand the situation. At the same time as Schiaparelli’s descent, the orbiter was performing a crucial ‘Mars Orbit Insertion’ manoeuvre – which it completed successfully. These important data were recorded from Schiaparelli and beamed back to Earth in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The data have been partially analysed and confirm that the entry and descent stages occurred as expected, with events diverging from what was expected after the ejection of the back heat shield and parachute. This ejection itself appears to have occurred earlier than expected, but analysis is not yet complete.
The thrusters were confirmed to have been briefly activated although it seems likely that they switched off sooner than expected, at an altitude that is still to be determined.
“Following yesterday’s events we have an impressive orbiter around Mars ready for science and for relay support for the ExoMars rover mission in 2020,” said Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General.
“Schiaparelli’s primary role was to test European landing technologies. Recording the data during the descent was part of that, and it is important we can learn what happened, in order to prepare for the future.”
“In terms of the Schiaparelli test module, we have data coming back that allow us to fully understand the steps that did occur, and why the soft landing did not occur,” said David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration.
“From the engineering standpoint, it’s what we want from a test, and we have extremely valuable data to work with. We will have an enquiry board to dig deeper into the data and we cannot speculate further at this time.”
РОСКОСМОС и ЕКА. СПЕЦИАЛИСТЫ РАСШИФРОВЫВАЮТ ТЕЛЕМЕТРИЮ СКИАПАРЕЛЛИ
20 октября 2016 года ESOC (Центр космических операций) Европейского космического агентства (ЕКА) объявил о том, что получил с орбитального модуля TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) информацию о ходе посадки на Марс демонстрационного спускаемого модуля «Скиапарелли» (Schiaparelli). Специалисты ЕКА проводят анализ полученных данных для определения причин, по которым «Скиапарелли» не отвечает на команды с Земли.
Первые сигналы, которые получили радиотелескоп GMRT, находящийся рядом с городом Пуна (Индия) и орбитальный аппарат «Марс Экспресс» (Mars Express), показали, что демонстрационный модуль успешно выполнил большую часть запрограммированных действий за время своего шестиминутного спуска в атмосферу Марса. В их числе: торможение в атмосфере Красной планеты, раскрытие парашюта, и сброс теплозащитного экрана.
Но сигналы, которые получали радиотелескоп в Пуне и аппарат «Марс Экспресс», прекратились незадолго до посадки на поверхность Марса. Расхождения в полученных данных сейчас анализируются в немецком Дармштадте.
Сегодня рано утром Центр управления миссией «ЭкзоМарс-2016» в Дармштадте получил всю телеметрию с TGO о маневрах «Скиапарелли» во время посадки. После частичного анализа данных было подтверждено, что существуют расхождения с циклограммой посадки и возможно, отстрел парашюта произошел несколько раньше запланированного.
Информация, полученная со «Скиапарелли» свидетельствует, что двигатели спускаемого модуля были активированы, но, вероятно, выключились раньше, чем ожидалось, на высоте, которая пока не определена.
«Итог вчерашних событий: у нас есть орбитальный модуль, обращающийся вокруг Марса, который готов к проведению научных исследований и поддержке миссии «ЭкзоМарс-2020», - сказал Ян ВЁРНЕР, генеральный директор ЕКА. – Основной задачей «Скиапарелли» была отработка европейских технологий посадки. Запись информации во время посадки была частью полетного задания, очень важной для будущего».
«Мы получили необходимый объем данных для понимания того, что произошло и почему не было мягкой посадки, - отметил Дэвид ПАРКЕР, директор ЕКА по пилотируемым полетам и автоматическим комплексам. – С инженерной точки зрения, полученная информация – это как раз то, что мы хотели получить от данного эксперимента, и у нас есть ценные данные для дальнейшей работы».
На борту TGO – два российских научных прибора АЦС и ФРЕНД, созданные в ИКИ РАН. Спектрометрический комплекс АЦС предназначен для исследования атмосферы и климата Марса, поиска малых составляющих атмосферы, в том числе метана. Нейтронный спектрометр ФРЕНД работал во время всего полета миссии «ЭкзоМарс-2016» от Земли к Марсу и собирал данные о радиационной обстановке на перелёте к Марсу при помощи входящего в его состав дозиметра «Люлин-МО» и отдельно включенных гелиевого и сцинтиляционных детекторов. Полученные данные важны для оценки радиационной дозы на перелёте к Марсу при планировании будущих пилотируемых экспедиций.
Проект «ЭкзоМарс» — совместный проект РОСКОСМОСА и Европейского космического агентства по исследованию Марса, его поверхности, атмосферы и климата с орбиты и на поверхности планеты. Он откроет новый этап исследования космоса для Европы и России.
It Sounds Like ESA's Mars Lander Crashed Into the Surface (Updated)
The complicated landing procedure played out this afternoon.
Update, 10/20 9:30 a.m. EDT: The ESA ExoMars science team was unable to reestablish contact with the Schiaparelli Mars lander this morning, and it seems likely that the spacecraft is not functional. Preliminary analysis of new data suggests the landing thrusters fired, but cut out sooner than planned, and that the ejection of the back heat shield and parachute occurred earlier than expected.
However, telemetry data from the Schiaparelli lander was collected by the Trace Gas Orbiter, the primary spacecraft of the first ExoMars mission, and relayed to Earth—which should give the science team some new information regarding the velocity and altitude of the lander at given times, helping them figure out what happened.
"Schiaparelli's primary role was to test European landing technologies," said Jan Wörner, ESA's Director General, in a press release. "Recording the data during the descent was part of that, and it is important we can learn what happened, in order to prepare for the future."
Update, 2:45 a.m. EDT: The ESA has said not to "jump to conclusions and let the experts do their work," but unfortunately it sounds like the Schiaparelli lander crash landed on Mars and might not be functional. The original signal being received by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India was tracking the spacecraft as it entered the atmosphere. A boost in the signal suggests that the parachute was properly jettisoned and the main antenna was exposed, but the signal cuts out before the landing. The GMRT signal was weak, and no one knew if it would be received at all, so scientists eagerly awaited data from ESA's Mars Express Orbiter, which recorded the Schiaparelli lander's decent. The signal was the same, cutting out before the spacecraft reached the surface.
The other ExoMars spacecraft, the TGO orbiter, successfully entered orbit around Mars without any complications. More comprehensive data from both the TGO and from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will help the ExoMars team determined exactly what happened to its lander in the coming days.
Update, 12:36 p.m. EDT: The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) spacecraft has successfully reemerged from behind Mars and reestablished a signal with Earth after a two-hour engine burn to slow the craft down and enter Mars orbit. A recording of the Schiaparelli lander's signal has been obtained via ESA's Mars Express Orbiter, and it should be interpreted later today to tell us more about what happened during the landing attempt.
Update, 11:15 a.m. EDT: The signal from the Schiaparelli Mars lander temporarily increased, indicating that the parachute jettisoned and the lander's main antenna was deployed. But the signal cut out as it made its attempted landing—this is not necessarily surprising given the faint signal coming from the spacecraft. ESA's Mars Express Orbiter recorded the landing and will be relaying that information to Earth in about and hour and a half.
Update, 10:50 a.m. EDT: Waiting for a signal from the Schiaparelli lander. You can watch live footage from ESA about the Schiaparelli lander's progress here.
Update, 10:42 a.m. EDT: The Schiaparelli lander is expected to have entered the Martian atmosphere. The six-minute landing procedure will first deploy a parachute to slow the craft from an initial speed of 21,000 km/h. Then the spacecraft will fire retro-rockets to slow even more after the chute is jettisoned. The lander should hover about two meters over the surface of Mars before dropping the rest of the way. The EDM lander uses a deformable bottom that will buckle on impact to protect the spacecraft's main components.
Update, 10:22 a.m. EDT: The TGO spacecraft has begun recording data from the Schiaparelli lander to give a full picture of the landing, though that data will not be relayed to Earth until tomorrow morning. Landing in about 20 minutes.
Two ESA spacecraft just reached Mars—the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) that will circle the planet to study its atmosphere, and the EDM (Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module), also known as the Schiaparelli lander, which will be touching down within the hour. Both are part of the ExoMars mission to search Mars for life, which you can read more about here.
The Schiaparelli lander just relayed a signal to the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune, India, indicating that it is operational and beginning its final descent. The lander will be touching down on Mars around 10:42 EDT, but it could be a couple hours before a spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet can relay a signal to us to confirm the mission was a success.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site
MARS RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER VIEWS SCHIAPARELLI LANDING SITE
21 October 2016
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing technology demonstrator module.
Schiaparelli entered the martian atmosphere at 14:42 GMT on 19 October for its 6-minute descent to the surface, but contact was lost shortly before expected touchdown. Data recorded by its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, are currently being analysed to understand what happened during the descent sequence.
In the meantime, the low-resolution CTX camera on-board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) took pictures of the expected touchdown site in Meridiani Planum on 20 October as part of a planned imaging campaign.
The image released today has a resolution of 6 metres per pixel and shows two new features on the surface when compared to an image from the same camera taken in May this year.
Schiaparelli landing site
One of the features is bright and can be associated with the 12-m diameter parachute used in the second stage of Schiaparelli’s descent, after the initial heat shield entry. The parachute and the associated back shield were released from Schiaparelli prior to the final phase, during which its nine thrusters should have slowed it to a standstill just above the surface.
The other new feature is a fuzzy dark patch roughly 15 x 40 metres in size and about 1 km north of the parachute. This is interpreted as arising from the impact of the Schiaparelli module itself following a much longer free fall than planned, after the thrusters were switched off prematurely.
Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h. The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis.
A closer look at these features will be taken next week with HiRISE, the highest-resolution camera onboard MRO. These images may also reveal the location of the front heat shield, dropped at higher altitude.
MRO image of Schiaparelli – before
Since the module’s descent trajectory was observed from three different locations, the teams are confident that they will be able to reconstruct the chain of events with great accuracy. The exact mode of anomaly onboard Schiaparelli is still under investigation.
The two new features are located at 353.79 degrees east longitude, 2.07 degrees south latitude on Mars. The position of the dark mark shows that Schiaparelli impacted approximately 5.4 km west of its intended landing point, well within the nominal 100 x 15 km landing ellipse.
Meanwhile, the teams continue to decode the data extracted from the recording of Schiaparelli descent signals recorded by the ExoMars TGO in order to establish correlations with the measurements made with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an experimental telescope array located near Pune, India, and with ESA’s Mars Express from orbit.
A substantial amount of extremely valuable Schiaparelli engineering data were relayed back to the TGO during the descent and is being analysed by engineers day and night.
MRO image of Schiaparelli – after
The ExoMars TGO orbiter is currently on a 101 000 km x 3691 km orbit (with respect to the centre of the planet) with a period of 4.2 days, well within the planned initial orbit. The spacecraft is working very well and will take science calibration data during two orbits in November 2016.
It will then be ready for the planned aerobraking manoeuvres starting in March 2017 and continuing for most of the year, bringing it into a 400-km altitude circular orbit around Mars.
The TGO will then begin its primary science mission to study the atmosphere of Mars in search of possible indications of life below the surface, and to act as a telecommunications relay station for the ExoMars 2020 rover and other landed assets.