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According to Hakan Svedhem, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is a beast of a spacecraft, weighing in at 3.7 tons, but on board, you’ll find very sensitive instruments, capable of detecting one molecule of methane out of 10 billion molecules of carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere. In addition to these sensitive pieces of technology referred to as spectrometers, you’ll find a camera capable of generating 3D landscape images, and an instrument that can detect the presence of water molecules a meter deep in the surface of Mars.

Svedhem is a project scientist on the ExoMars mission and he joins the podcast to discuss a variety of topics, including how cosmic rays aid in the detection and quantification of water molecules, conflicting reports as to whether or not methane has been detected in the Martian atmosphere in the past, and if so, the significance of that finding, global dust storms and temperature fluctuation on Mars, and a bit about the launch of the ESA’s Mars rover slated for 2021. Learn more about this and all the other projects going on within the ESA by visiting https://www.esa.int/ESA.

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