From the looks of things, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, in short Roscosmos, are experiencing some delays with their Mars rover mission.
A week ago, the two agencies that partnered to send a rover to the Red Planet, conducted a second test of the parachutes of the ExoMars lander mission after the first test failed. Unfortunately, the second test failed as well. Both times, the canopy of the parachutes were the ones that had been damaged.
Finding solutions to the problem
The parachutes’ goal is to help cast down the ExoMars rover on the surface of Mars. Therefore, the fact that the canopy is the one that continues to raise problems is clearly a drawback for the mission that is planned to be conducted next year. The only period that would allow the two space agencies to send their ExoMars rover is between July 25th and August 13th 2020. It is worth mentioning that during that time, another two countries will send their rovers to the Red Planet: the U.S. and China. All three missions will have different aims; ESA and Roscosmos’ mission will have the goal to investigate Oxia Planum plain that has an elevation of more than 3,000 meters below the Martian mean. It is believed that Oxia Planum was a water source and ExoMars 2020 will search for signs of life.
Therefore, the team of scientists that work at the ExoMars 2020 mission are against the clock. Their spokesperson announced that another high-altitude test is being scheduled, but after they discover and fix the issue. Also, ESA is determined to consult NASA experts and a panel of Mars parachute specialists in order to resolve the problem. They are also trying to come up with other solutions which could make the landing safe a possibility.