Before humans can leave their boot prints on the dusty surface of Mars, many questions have to be answered and many problems solved. One of the most fundamental questions
ESA prepares mission to search for life on Mars European Space Agency
Europe launches into astrobiology European Space Agency
Is our planet an oasis of life in an otherwise dead universe? Twenty years ago, the scientific consensus was “yes, probably”. Now it has shifted to “probably not” and the field of astro- (or exo-) biology is burgeoning. This growth of interest is evident this week at ESRIN, ESA’s European Space Research Institute in Frascati, Italy, which is hosting the first European workshop on exo/astrobiology. About 200 scientists from fields as diverse as astrophysics, geology, environmental sciences, biology and chemistry are attending. Yesterday, they took the opportunity to set up the European Exo/astrobiology Network to coordinate their growing efforts.
Mars Express construction begins European Space Agency
Construction of the Mars Express spacecraft can now begin, after final approval for the design was granted on Tuesday. A meeting chaired by Roger Bonnet, ESA’s Director of Scientific Programmes, and Jean-Jacques Dourdain, Director for Science Strategy and Technical Assessment, gave the approval after hearing a presentation on the findings of the science and engineering review team. The review team had endorsed the Mars Express design last December, after spending a week poring over the plans at the offices of Matra Marconi Space (MMS) in Toulouse. Starsem, the company that is providing the Fregat-Soyuz launcher, and MMS also presented their latest activities yesterday.