Schiaparelli is expected to operate on the surface of Mars for a few days. In addition, it will collect data during its six-minute descent through the atmosphere.
For example, AMELIA will take measurements using the spacecraft engineering sensors, while COMARS+ will monitor the pressure, surface temperature and heat flux on the back cover of Schiaparelli as it passes through the atmosphere. In addition, a descent camera (DECA) will image the landing site as it approaches the surface.
On the surface the DREAMS (Dust Characterisation, Risk Assessment, and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) package comes into play. It consists of a suite of sensors to measure the wind speed and direction (MetWind), humidity (DREAMS-H), pressure (DREAMS-P), atmospheric temperature close to the surface (MarsTem), the transparency of the atmosphere (Solar Irradiance Sensor, SIS), and atmospheric electrification (Atmospheric Radiation and Electricity Sensor; MicroARES).
Schiaparelli will obtain the first measurements of electric fields on the surface of Mars that, combined with measurements of the concentration of atmospheric dust, will provide new insights into the role of electric forces on dust lifting, the trigger for dust storms.
A compact array of laser retroreflectors is also attached to Schiaparelli, which can be used as a target for future Mars orbiters to laser-locate the module.
Last update: 3 March 2016