ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter snaps an image of Perseverance and its trash

Shane McGlaun - Feb 27, 2021, 8:33am CST
ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter snaps an image of Perseverance and its trash

There are multiple spacecraft in orbit around Mars, including the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. ExoMars recently snapped an image from its orbital perch of the aftermath of the Perseverance Rover’s landing showing the rover as a speck on the Martian surface along with discarded components from the landing. The image shows what the Red Planet’s surface now looks like, with another rover cruising its surface.

The image above shows in the far left the parachute and back shell from the rover, the crash location for the descent stage, the Perseverance rover itself in the center, and the round heatshield in the far right. ExoMars took the image on February 23, and it’s a joint mission of the ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos.

The ESA released the image on February 25, showing the discarded components that were critical to getting the rover safely on the ground on February 18. ExoMars did have a role to play during the landing of Perseverance by relaying data about the spacecraft back to Earth, allowing mission planners to know how the landing was going.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has been in orbit around Mars since October 19, 2016. It’s packed with instruments meant to sample and analyze molecules in the Martian atmosphere with the goal of helping scientists to understand how atmospheric gases like methane appearing in small quantities could signal biological or geological activity for faraway planets.

The orbiter has multiple cameras and a Color and Stereo Surface Imaging System, which is what photographed Perseverance. When the photograph was snapped, the orbiter was about 249 miles above the surface of Mars. Earlier this week, NASA shared an image of the descent stage and a smoke plume from its wreckage.

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