The CaSSIS camera onboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has captured its 20 000th image of Mars! The image, taken on 13 December 2020, features Solis Dorsum, a segment of a prominent wrinkle ridge system in a vast volcanic plateau, known as Tharsis.
Wrinkle ridges are tectonic features that form in layered basalt lavas due to loading and flexure of the planet’s crust and upper mantle. These tectonic stresses are caused by the planet’s interior cooling and subsequent contraction. The study of wrinkle ridges, and in particular their distribution and orientation, can reveal details of the complex and dynamic geological history of Mars.
The ExoMars-2022 mission is the second stage of Roscosmos largest international project together with the European Space Agency to explore Mars, its surface and subsurface layer in the immediate area of the landing site, conducting geological research and searching for possible traces of life existance on the planet. The mission will open a new stage of space exploration for the world scientific community.
NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) is the general contractor and coordinator from the Russian side, as well as the designer and manufacturer of the descent module with the landing platform. The mission is planned to launch during the launch window in September-October 2022. This period was selected taking into account the ballistic conditions that allow launching a spacecraft from Earth to Mars every two years.