The Russian-European Trace Gas Orbiter probe located the different components used by NASA’s mission for the descent to the red planet.
NASA’s Perseverance rover, along with various components used during its recent descent to Mars, were located by the Russian-European Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) probe, which orbits the red planet.
An image captured with the CaSSIS camera, from the ExoMars-2016 mission orbiter, shows the location of the Perseverance’s parachute and rear casing, the descent unit, the heat shield and, of course, the rover itself in the region of the Jezero crater.
On February 18 the rover Perseverance landed successfully on the Martian surface and just five days later the TGO identified component locations, which appear as dark or bright pixels in images. These objects may become more difficult to recognize over time because they may become covered in dust.
The TGO, part of a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscosmos, provided important data relay services during the Perseverance landing.
The orbiter will continue to provide support for data retransmission between Earth and Mars for NASA missions and for the upcoming ExoMars mission, with the European rover Rosalind Franklin and the Russian lander Kazachok, which are planned to reach Mars in 2023.
TGO’s scientific mission consists of analyzing the planet’s atmosphere, with special emphasis on the search for gases that may be linked to active geological or biological processes.
Meanwhile, the rover Perseverance will continue with its main objective of astrobiological research and search for signs of life ancient microbial. The rover will collect data on the geology and climate of the red planet and store regolith – fragments of rocks, minerals and dust left on the planet’s surface – paving the way for future human exploration of Mars.