For the European Space Agency (ESA), tomorrow will hold a nerve-shredding 6 minutes. At 14:42 local time, the agency’s Mars lander Schiaparelli will begin its furious descent through the Red Planet’s thin atmosphere. Six minutes later, mission managers will know if they have joined the select club of agencies that have successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2eN13mS
ESA EXPLAINS THE VIDEO:
Visualisation of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module entering and descending through the atmosphere to land on Mars. The animation follows a simulated timeline of the module, starting when it enters the atmosphere at an altitude of 121 km at 14:42 GMT. In six minutes it will use a heatshield, parachute and thrusters to brake from 21 000 km/h to a near standstill 2 m above the surface, where a crushable structure on its underside will absorb the final shock.
The key operational milestones are highlighted in the animation at the predicted times at which they have been calculated to occur. However, the actual times may vary depending on the atmospheric conditions on the day, the final path through the atmosphere and the speed at which the module descends.
The times indicated in the animation are onboard spacecraft times at Mars. The one-way signal travel time on 19 October is just under 10 minutes, meaning that signals relayed by spacecraft at Mars are received on Earth about 10 minutes after the event itself has happened on the Red Planet.
Both Schiaparelli and the Mars scenery in this animation are computer-generated.
Copyright ESA/ATG medialab