Wednesday , June 23 2021

Mission to Mars one step closer to any landing site named | Science | News

The team behind the upcoming mission has recommended a landing site on the red planet called Oxia Planum, where it is believed that a large water pool was set billions years ago. Teams from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia's Roscosmos will confirm the site in mid 2019 before the highly anticipated launch scheduled for the following year. Oxia Planum is one of two places researchers have considered, with Mawrth Vallis – a valley on Mars – revealed as the other.

The mission will see an ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars will now roam the chosen site to test for pioneering studies.

Both sites are rich with evidence of Mars's watery past and sitting north of the planet's equator.

ESA's exoMars 2020 project researcher Jorge Vago said: "With ExoMars we are about to find biosignatures.

"Although both sides offer valuable scientific opportunities to explore ancient water-rich environments that could have been colonized by microorganisms, Oxia Planum got the majority of the votes.

"An impressive amount of work has gone into characterizing the proposed sites, demonstrating that they meet the scientific requirements for the goals of the ExoMars mission."

He added: "Mawrth Vallis is a scientifically interesting site that has been identified from the runway."

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has already been busy looking for signs of Mars biological activity.

Researchers recently gathered at the British National Space Center in Leicester for a two-day summit to discuss the two sites.

Experts established Oxia Planum were the best option because it was once upon a time an old water source that many streams dropped into, and as a result, home to layers of leraika minerals.

The mission is scheduled to run between July 25 and August 13, 2020, with the main goal of finding out if there was ever life on Mars.

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