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Book Chapter

Searching for Traces of Life With the ExoMars Rover


Goesmann,  Fred
Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Vago, J. L., Coates, A. J., Jaumann, R., Korablev, O., Ciarletti, V., Mitrofanov, I., et al. (2018). Searching for Traces of Life With the ExoMars Rover. In N. A. Cabrol, & E. A. Grin (Eds.), From Habitability to Life on Mars (pp. 309-347). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-5417-2
The second ExoMars mission will be launched in 2020 to target an ancient landing site interpreted to possess a strong potential for preserving the physical and chemical biosignatures of fossil martian microorganisms, if they existed there. The mission will deliver a lander with instruments designed for atmospheric and geophysical investigations and a rover tasked with searching for signs of extinct life. The ExoMars rover will be equipped with a drill to collect material from outcrops and at depth (between 0 and 2 m). This subsurface sampling capability, coupled with novel analytic instruments, will provide the best chance yet to gain access to and characterize molecular biomarkers.

Starting with a brief discussion of the ExoMars program, this chapter concentrates on the ExoMars rover. We describe its scientific underpinnings, the rover configuration, its Pasteur payload, its drill, and its sample processing systems and present the reference surface mission. We conclude by addressing desirable scientific attributes of the landing-site region.

Large sections of this chapter were published previously in the work by Vago et al. (2017).