WMFE's Brendan Byrne and WKMG's Emilee Speck join Jake to discuss the year that was and the year that will be in Mars exploration.
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The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is now at Mars, preparing its orbit for science operations late next year. On board is a wonderful camera called the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) that will take amazing 3D images of the surface as the TGO hunts down methane sources. Nicolas Thomas of the University of Bern, Principal Investigator for the instrument, tells us how it all works and what we can expect from this fascinating device.
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Thales Alenia's Michael Coarezza, Mechanical Assembly, Integration and Test Engineer for ESA's ExoMars Mission, joins Jake to discuss the ins and outs of putting together a spacecraft in Europe.
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Michael Coarezza standing in front of ExoMars and the mated Proton-M launch vehicle in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, just days before the successful launch.
Giovanni Schiaparelli, one of the most famous observers of Mars prior to the space age, would have celebrated his 181st birthday today, were it not for, you know, aging. Though he wasn't around to celebrate, he nonetheless received a pretty amazing gift.
At 09:31 GMT, a Russian Proton-M rocket lifted off from the historic launch facility at Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Where once top secret Soviet satellites and crewed spacecraft launched to space in a heated space race with the United States, today an international mission of science and discovery called ExoMars began its 496 km journey to Mars.
The main spacecraft, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), will search for methane sources on the Red Planet and map hydrogen content below the surface, continuing Schiaparelli's search for life in the solar system. While the Italian astronomer used a big telescope and a keen eye to chart what he referred to as canali on the surface, TGO will use advanced neutron detectors and stereo photography.
A couple weeks ago we announced our seven day lead-up campaign to share a series of #MarsExoFact images prior to the ExoMars launch from Baikonur tomorrow. Here are the images assembled for easy viewing!
Remember, we'll be live tweeting the event beginning one hour before launch (01:30 AM PDT, 04:30 AM EDT). Follow along as we share as much interesting info as we can!
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