European space scientists have strongly recommended a mission equipped with a rover as the next scientific mission to Mars as part of the European Space Agency’s [ESA] Aurora programme of planetary exploration. The mission would conduct a detailed analysis of the Martian environment and search for traces of past or present life. A launch in June 2011, followed by a two year journey, would arrive on the Red Planet in June 2013. A detailed proposal will be prepared for consideration by ESA member states at the agency’s Council Meeting at Ministerial Level in December 2005.
The recommendation was made by European scientists at an international space workshop held at Aston University, Birmingham, England on the 6th and 7th April 2005. The ESA workshop, hosted by the UK’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC], brought together space scientists and agency officials from Europe, Canada, North America and the international space community in order to debate robotic mission options up to 2013 in the first phase of the Aurora programme.
Three candidate missions were considered: BeagleNet, ExoMars and its variant ExoMars-Lite. Consideration was also given to the preparatory activities needed to develop a sustainable, long-term Mars Exploration programme and how efforts to 2011 address the requirements of a Mars Sample Return [MSR] mission within an overall Aurora roadmap.
Julia Maddock | alfa
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