Stocktrek/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Mars is about to get a little more crowded.
After seven months of traveling through space aboard a Russian rocket, the ExoMars orbiter and Schiaparelli lander are set to enter the Martian atmosphere Wednesday.
ExoMars, a joint European Space Agency/Roscosmos mission, is designed to provide important clues about the possibility of life on the Red Planet.
Equipped with an array of spectrometers, the Trace Gas Orbiter is designed to circle the planet, analyzing methane and other atmospheric gases in search of evidence of biological and geological activity.
In the meantime, the Schiaparelli lander will touch down on the Meridiani Planum. Its battery will only last for a few days, but in that time the lander will provide crucial information about the surface of Mars, paving the way for future missions.
ESA is providing live coverage of the mission on Facebook and Livestream. On Thursday the first images from the Schiaparelli descent camera will be available, along with a mission status update.
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