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ExoMars Parachute in the Oven

15 Mar 2019, 05:09 UTC
ExoMars Parachute in the Oven
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is one of those strange coincidences. Just a few days ago, Tuesday, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about the precautions of bacteria from Earth going to other places other than home. “Well they do nothing because bacteria would die in outer-space.” NOT SO I countered. Bacteria can indeed live in “outer-space”, citing bacteria found on the outside of the International Space Station.

Today I saw this from ESA dealing with such issue on the ExoMars parachute and I knew I should have wagered on it (LOL).

ESA: A technician places a nearly 70 kg parachute designed for ESA and Roscosmos’s ExoMars 2020 mission inside the dry heater steriliser of the Agency’s Life, Physical Sciences and Life Support Laboratory, based in its Netherlands technical centre.

Mars is a potential abode of past and perhaps even present-day life. Accordingly, international planetary protection regulations require any mission sent to the Red Planet to undergo rigorous sterilisation, to prevent terrestrial microbes from piggybacking their way there.

The Lab’s Alan Dowson explains: “This is the ‘qualification model’ of the 35-m diameter main parachute for ExoMars 2020, basically a test version which allows us to finalise our sterilisation procedures ahead ...

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