ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter sent the first stunning picture from its new 400 kilometers orbit above the Martian surface. ExoMars TGO is the probe of the European Space Agency, ESA, developed in collaboration with Ruscosmos, which was launched in 2016 with the mission to examine the Mars atmosphere which seems to house large amounts of methane. The image it captured recently does not surprise a reddish, rocky, and arid surface.
The photo shows 40 kilometers of dust and ice along the Korolev crater in the northern hemisphere of the planet, according to a press release from the European Space Agency. ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is based on four precision instruments, namely, a high-res camera, two spectrometers, and a neutron detector.
The purpose of the space probe is to understand the Martian atmosphere, better than other tools have ever done.
ExoMars Trace Orbiter will try to find from the orbit the source of the methane in the Mars atmosphere
ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrived in Mars’ orbit in October 2016 but just now it has settled in the right orbit, ready to send home stunning pics and readings of Mars atmosphere. The probe is trying to understand the gases in the Martian atmosphere, especially the methane, which was found in large amounts.
This gas has been linked to both biological and geological processes, triggering hypothesis that life on Mars could exist, as we speak because, according to some researchers, the methane should not be found any more in such amounts since the chemical reactions in the planet’s atmosphere should have destroyed it, by now.
If the probe will really depict the same methane amounts in the Mars atmosphere, as the preliminary readings, it will prove that on Mars are many processes that scientists do not know about, yet. Besides readings, the high-res photos will also help researchers find the methane source if there is any. In addition, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will receive help in about 2 years when the ExoMars Rover will be launched on the Mars surface in 2020.