Artist's illustration of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter circling the Red Planet.
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
Europe's new Mars probe is making its first science observations at the Red Planet, if everything is going according to plan.
The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived at Mars on Oct. 19 and is currently circling the planet once every 4.2 days. TGO was scheduled to begin testing and calibrating its four instrument suites on Sunday (Nov. 20), and this work should continue through next Monday (Nov. 28), European Space Agency(ESA) officials said late last week.
"We’re excited we will finally see the instruments perform in the environment for which they were designed, and to see the first data coming back from Mars," Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s TGO project scientist, said in a statement on Friday (Nov. 18). [Red But Not Dead: ExoMars Orbiter to Look for Water and Life (Video)]