Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Spotlight on Schiaparelli’s landing site
Schiaparelli, the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module of the joint ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 mission, will target the Meridiani Planum region for its October landing.
The landing ellipse, measuring 100 x 15 km, is located close to the equator, in the southern highlands of Mars. The region was chosen based on its relatively flat and smooth characteristics, as indicated in the topography map, in order to satisfy landing safety requirements for Schiaparelli.
NASA’s Opportunity rover also landed within this ellipse near Endurance crater in Meridiani Planum, in 2004, and has been exploring the 22 km-wide Endeavour crater for the last five years. Endeavour lies just outside the south-eastern extent of Schiaparelli’s landing ellipse.
The region has also been well studied from orbit and is shown to host clay sediments and sulphates that were likely formed in the presence of water.
Video: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGOhttp://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2016/08/Flyover_of_Schiaparelli_landing_ellipse