ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter : European Space Agency
The European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) recently flashed an encoded message to Earth from its orbit around Mars.
- ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is the first in a series of joint missions between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
- Goal is to gain a better understanding of methane and other atmospheric gases that are present in small concentrations in the Martian atmosphere.
- The orbiter’s sensitivity to hydrogen has also allowed it to search for water buried underneath shallow layers of Martian soil.
- It’s also meant to test technology for future missions.
- It was launched in March 2016and began operations after entering Mars orbit on Oct. 19, 2016.
- TGO carried the Schiaparelli landerwith it to Mars. However, it was crashed during landing.
- The spacecraft itself is a 3.2 meter by 2 meter by 2 meter box, fitted with one antenna to communicate with Earth and another to communicate with spacecraft on the surface of Mars.
- It is powered by a pair of solar arrays that protrude from its sides like wings, along with two small batteries to keep it running during eclipses, when it doesn’t receive any sunlight.