Beagle 2: ExoMars 2018 Rover mission to carry on probe’s legacy

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Beagle 2, lost for over 11 years and discovered recently in a partially deployed state, will see its legacy carried on by European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2018 Rover mission as ESA will be using the probe’s technology in its upcoming mission.

The ExoMars 2018 mission will see an European rover and a Russian surface platform delivered to the surface of Mars through a Proton rocket. The rover will look for signs of life on the red planet using technology that was initially meant to be used in Beagle 2.

Scientists involved with both the Beagle 2 and ExoMars missions have said that Beagle 2’s legacy is its miniaturised technology and they have already used some of that for the ExoMars 2018 rover and has been proposed for future missions as well.

“It [ExoMars Rover] will collect samples with a drill and analyse them with next-generation instruments. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth”, reads a description on ExoMars Rover mission page.

“We will come back to land on Mars using a lot of lessons we have learned from Beagle 2?, said Professor Álvaro Gimemez of the European Space Agency during a press briefing held recently to reveal the discovery of Beagle 2 after 11 years.

The instruments aboard the ExoMars Rover are:

  • PanCam (The Panoramic Camera) – To perform digital terrain mapping of Mars.
  • ISEM (Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars) – To assess the mineralogical composition of surface targets.
  • CLUPI (Close – UP Imager) – A camera system to acquire high-resolution colour close-up images of rocks, outcrops, drill fines and drill core samples.
  • WISDOM (Water Ice and Subsurface Deposit Observation On Mars) – A ground-penetrating radar to characterise the stratigraphy under the rover.
  • Ma_MISS (Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies) – Located inside the drill, Ma_MISS will contribute to the study of the Martian mineralogy and rock formation.
  • MicrOmega A visible plus infrared imaging spectrometer for mineralogy studies on Martian samples.
  • RLS (Raman Spectrometer) – To establish mineralogical composition and identify organic pigments.
  • MOMA (Mars Organic Molecule Analyser) – MOMA will target biomarkers to answer questions related to the potential origin, evolution and distribution of life on Mars.