Search for Life on Mars and ExoMars Planetary Protection Approach 2009-01-2394
ExoMars is the first mission in ESA's Aurora Exploration Programme. ExoMars will pursue important science and technology objectives aimed at extending Europe's capabilities in planetary exploration. ExoMars will deploy a Rover carrying a suite of instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research. The Rover will travel several kilometres searching for traces of past and present signs of life, collecting and analysing samples from within surface rocks and from the subsurface, down to a depth of 2 metres.
The planetary protection policy of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the particular sensitivity of the life detection investigations establish stringent contamination control constraints for the ExoMars mission. Particulate, molecular and bioburden contamination control beyond the level of standard spacecraft is required for the flight system as well as for the assembly, test, and launch environment.
As a result of the project phase B2, this paper will describe the technical implementation of the planetary protection and cleanliness and contamination requirements proposed by the Prime Contractor for the ExoMars mission.