Samara University scholars’ developments help in life search on Mars
In March the second test campaign on switching on of scientific instruments on the board of orbital module Trace Gas Orbiter (ТGO) of ExoMars 2016 Mission ended. Four scientific instruments among which were two Russian ones held test measurements and calibration on the Highly Elliptical Orbit round Mars. In the construction of one of the instruments studying the atmosphere of the Red planet were used the developments of Samara University scholars.
The structure of Russian-European ExoMars 2016 Mission includes lander Schiaparelli and orbital module Trace Gas Orbiter. From 5 to 7 March instruments set on the board of TGO were holding the main examinations on the orbit of the planet. Fourier transform spectrometer "TIRVIM" ("ТИРВИМ") switched on vibration isolation made by scholars of Samara National Research University.
"We have been working with Space Research Institute RAS (SRI RAS) for a long time. We have provided our vibration isolation for instruments developed by them many times," Samara University chief engineer of ONIL-1 Fyodor Parovai told. "To be more precise, ONIL-1 working team developed a vibration isolation system for Fourier transform spectrometer "TIRVIM" which analyses the atmosphere of Mars. One of the scientific goals of this instrument is to construct a 3D-model of atmosphere circulation. One of the mission goals is to search for methane in the atmosphere of Mars, this gas can be a sign of life on the planet.
"TIRVIM" weighs approximately 4 kilograms. It is set on vibration isolations created at Samara University. "Vibration isolations are necessary for prevention of demolition of a craft at the stage of launching into outer space: when a rocket starts, equipment set on the spacecraft is subdued to enormous vibration loads," Fyodor Parovai mentioned. "Vibration isolation of wire goods "MR" (metal-rubber) which we produce is used practically with all production of RSC "Progress". But in case with ExoMars Mission we have specially updated vibration isolation".
According to exomars.cosmos.ru in March "TIRVIM" fulfilled the entire planned programme successfully. It included observation of Mars’ limb at the approach to pericentre, several special modes of functioning in the pericentral part of the orbit, as well as measurements of misalignment of spectrometer axes according to the Sun observation.
On 15 March the stage of atmosphere stopping began, the results of which will be switching of TGO to the working circular orbit with the height of 400 kilometers above the surface of Mars.
ExoMars 2016 is a joint project of Roscosmos and European Space Agency on research of Mars, its surface, atmosphere and climate from the orbit and on the planet’s surface. ExoMars 2016 project is the first exobiological mission to the Red planet. 24 November 2016 ONIL-1 working team received official gratitude from ExoMars 2016 project for the help in creation of "TIRVIM" instrument.