Martian Rock Fragment Was The Test Subject Of The Camera On ESA’s ExoMars 2020

A Martian rock by the name of Exhibit ​0102.226 was discovered in the Sayh al Uhaymir area of Oman, back in 2012. The object seems to be a simple piece of rock, but its dark and uneven mass clearly suggest to be a fragment of Mars. The section is speculated to have been propelled when an asteroid or comet collided with the Red Planet and sent pieces of material which flew to Earth. The rock is at ESA’s ESTEC technology center in the Netherlands, borrowed by the National History Museum in Bern, Switzerland, to support the scale campaign for the ExoMars 2020 project.

The researchers from ESA captured and uploaded a photo of the Martian piece of rock alongside the Close-Up Imager, CLUPI. CLUPI is a camera system created to get high-resolution, close-up, and color images. The instrument will be one of the many other tools aboard the ExoMars probe, which is scheduled to launch in 2020. The camera will capture images at tens of micrometers to centimeter-scale, helping researchers understand the habitat in which Martian rocks and other materials took shape.

ESA’s ExoMars 2020 Camera Tested On Martian Rock Fragment

​One-hundred-and-four meteorites of the approximately 60,000 already discovered on Earth, have been labeled as having a Martian origin. Similar to Earth, Mars is also vulnerable to space rocks that travel through the solar system. However, Mars’ thin atmosphere allows them to impact the surface whole. The Red Planet is also deficient in another crucial area, having no inhabitants that can create space agencies and techniques of planetary defense.

​Asteroids with the probability to collide with the Earth are being closely tracked by ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre, which manages observations of small objects in the solar system. Those bodies include asteroids, comets, and even minor planets. The observations’ aim to evaluate and monitor the danger posed by any object that could come too close to Earth. ESA’s Planetary Defense Office creates frequent observation campaigns to find dangerous space rocks, predicting their trajectory, designing impact warnings when needed, and working to reduce the damage of, and at the same time preventing an asteroid impact.

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About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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