ExoMars prepares for launch

The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft – consisting of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator – is in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, preparing for its mid-March launch on a Russian Proton rocket.

This joint European and Russian mission will test key exploration technologies and search for evidence of methane and other rare gases in the martian atmosphere. These gases could result from geological processes or they could be signatures of current biological activity on the planet. 

Three days before reaching Mars in October, Schiaparelli will separate from the orbiter and coast towards the planet in hibernation mode to reduce power consumption. The film covers the journey, the orbit of the Trace Gas Orbiter, the separation of the Schiaparelli lander and its 20 000 km/hour descent and eventual landing. It also contains filming at ESA’s European Space and Technology Centre (ESTEC) Mars Yard in the Netherlands. 

Learning more about Mars’ water and environment will shed further light on this planet – while knowing the origin of its methane could finally answer the exciting question of whether there is life on Mars. 

The A-roll and B-roll contains soundbites from ALVARO GIMENEZ, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, ESA (English); and JORGE VAGO, ExoMars project scientist, ESA [English, Spanish, Italian].