ExoMars 2016: Landing site at Meridiani Planum

ExoMars2016_LandingSite_LS2-2The ExoMars 2016 entry, descent, and landing demonstrator module, also known as Schiaparelli, will touch down on Meridiani Planum, a relatively smooth, flat region on Mars, on 19 October 2016. The landing is targeted to take place within the solid ellipse marked on this topographical map. The ellipse, centred at 6° West and 2° South, measures about 100 km East-West and 15 km North-South, and is valid for a launch on 14 March. The near-equatorial landing site is North-West from the current location of NASA’s Opportunity rover.

One of the reasons for choosing this landing site was because of its relatively low elevation, which means that there is a sufficient thickness of atmosphere to allow Schiaparelli’s heat shield to reduce the module’s velocity and get ready to deploy its parachute. The final firing of its thrusters will ensure a soft and controlled landing. [More at link]

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