Exo Mars Rover
The ExoMars Program is a pair of missions, led collaboratively by the European Space Agency and the Roscosmos State Corporation, designed to understand if life ever existed on Mars. Just as other countries often participate in NASA Mars missions, NASA contributes scientific, engineering and technical expertise to other world efforts to explore the Red Planet. The second mission in the ExoMars Program is the 2022 ExoMars Rover and Surface Platform, scheduled to launch between August and October of 2022 from the Baikonur launch complex in Kazakhstan and land on Mars roughly nine months later. It will deliver a European rover, “Rosalind Franklin,” via a Russian lander, “Kazachok,” which will also serve as a surface platform for conducting science experiments.
NASA's participation in the 2022 ExoMars Rover mission includes providing critical elements to the premier astrobiology instrument on the rover, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA). By studying organic molecules, the chemical building blocks of life, MOMA is designed to help answer questions about whether life ever existed on Mars, along with its potential origin, evolution and distribution on the Red Planet.
NASA is providing a mass spectrometer and key electronic components for MOMA. A mass spectrometer is an instrument that identifies the amount and type of chemicals present in a sample. The NASA-provided MOMA mass spectrometer is designed to analyze the types and amounts of chemicals that make up organic and inorganic compounds found in rock and soil samples on Mars.
- Straight outta NASA... Credit: JPL