Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

ExoMars spacecraft First images from Swiss camera on Mars orbiter

The image points to a randomly selected portion of the sky close to the southern celestial pole and shows star positions


On Thursday, the European Space Agency released the first images taken from its ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) headed towards the planet Mars. A test of the Swiss-made camera/telescope on board went smoothly. 

The TGO was launched exactly a month ago from Kazakhstan and is expected to reach Mars’ orbit in October 2016. The images taken by Swiss-made CaSSIS (Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System) will allow researchers to take high-resolution, colour pictures of the surface and topography of Mars in 3D. 

It was first activated on April 7 acquiring its first images from space. 

“The initial switch-on went quite smoothly and so far things look good,” says Nicolas Thomas from the University of Bern in Switzerland - the camera’s principal investigator. 

“Although it was not designed to look at faint stars, these first images are very reassuring. Everything points to us being able to get good data at Mars.” 

CaSSIS was designed and built in just 23 months by a team of scientists and engineers from all over the world, led by Dr Nicolas Thomas of the University of Bern Space Research and Planetary Sciences Division. Switzerland’s contribution includes engineering expertise from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne, and key construction elements from Swiss industry. 

It cost approximately €18 million (equivalent to about $20 million or CHF 19.7 million).

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

swissinfo EN

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

Join us on Facebook!

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters