Rover surface operations
The ExoMars Rover is designed to operate on the Martian surface for 180 sols. However, the vehicle's capabilities and on-board resources should allow an extension of the surface operations beyond the nominal lifetime.
These capabilities include:
Organic cleanliness is essential to obtain valid scientific results when searching for evidence of organic compounds. After landing, the Rover will perform an initial measurement run using a blank sample. This will allow scientists to demonstrate that the entire Pasteur sample collection, processing, distribution, and measuring chain is free from organic contamination of terrestrial origin. More inert blanks will be used in the course of the operations to determine the level of cross-contamination between samples.
During the nominal lifetime, the Rover will be able to complete a Reference Surface Mission, which is based on two types of complex sequences of scientific operations: the experiment cycles and the vertical surveys. This Reference Surface Mission includes 6 experiment cycles and 2 vertical surveys.
An experiment cycle comprises all actions necessary to select, approach, and study a target location, and to transmit the collected data to the Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC). It consists of the following operations:
The Rover will be able to travel for several kilometres, whilst the incremental transverse distance is estimated to be between 100 metres and 500 metres. Visual, infrared and ground penetrating radar acquisition will be made in circular areas of approximately 20 metres diameter.
A measurement cycle consists of the following operations:
The purpose of a vertical survey is to fully characterise, at a single location, the soil's geochemical, biological, water, and oxidant distribution as a function of depth.
A typical vertical survey consists of the following operations:
The Rover will be able to perform two orbiter communication sessions per sol, each lasting 5 to 10 minutes. Approximately 150 Mb of data will be transmitted to Earth per sol.