Europe and Russia’s joint robotic mission to Mars has hit a snag after the parachutes needed for landing the spacecraft on the Red Planet failed in two back-to-back tests.
The first phase occurred in 2016 when the organizations sent two vehicles to Mars: one to orbit the planet and sniff out gases in the atmosphere that might come from life, and the other was a lander to test out the technologies needed to put heavy equipment on the planet’s surface.
The second phase will send a robotic rover, which is named after famed English chemist Rosalind Franklin, to Mars to drill into the surface and look for signs of life.
The second phase will send a robotic rover to Mars to drill into the surface ExoMars’ first phase was a partial success.
The space agency recently detailed how the last two landing tests are done in preparation for the rovers’ descent caused damage to the main parachutes, even after changes were made to prevent harm to the hardware.
Image: ESA To touch down on Mars, the Rosalind Franklin rover is meant to ride down to the surface inside a landing platform called Kazachok, while a series of four parachutes deploy to slow the vehicles’ fall.
On May 28th, ESA and Roscosmos conducted the first test of the entire parachute sequence by dropping payloads from a stratospheric helium balloon.