The European Space Agency (ESA) has settled on a concept for its next mission to Mars. A single robot rover will be sent to the Red Planet, along with another, stationary, science package. A forthcoming meeting at ESA’s space and technology centre in the Netherlands will focus on what experiments the craft should take to Mars. The favoured concept – ExoMars – will lead a two-pronged mission.
The European exo/astrobiology network association and the Spanish astrobiological centre are jointly organising a workshop addressing the possibility of life on Mars, to take place from 18 to 20 November in Madrid, Spain.
Mars in their eyes CORDIS
On 27 August, the distance between Mars and the Earth was less than 56 million kilometres, the closest the Red Planet has been to ours for more than 60,000 years. Stargazers and amateur astronomers were treated to views of Mars unrivalled since Neanderthal times, with the distinctive red-orange planet easily visible to the naked eye. Scientists have also taken advantage of the planetary close encounter to record their own observations.