Return to the Red Planet: Leicester could contribute to next mission to Mars

Posted by uatemp13 at Jun 28, 2013 03:55 PM |
University of Leicester displays expertise for future Mars missions to top officials from NASA
Return to the Red Planet: Leicester could contribute to next mission to Mars

Credit: Hubble/Wikimedia Commons

Top NASA officials met scientists from the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre on Tuesday 25 June to see instruments and technologies that could be used for future missions to Mars, ahead of an international meeting on Mars exploration in London. The visitors, including those leading the mission to explore Mars, hoped to discover what the University could contribute to NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet.

Leicester scientists displayed a range of cutting edge technology, including a new rock-splitting technique for obtaining samples, computers which could detect the signs of extreterrestrial life, and techniques for surveying the minerals which make up the surface of the Red Planet—all of which could be used on NASA’s next rover mission in 2020.

The Space Research Centre’s Dr John Bridges, Reader in Planetary Science, has already been involved with the Mars Curiosity Rover, which roams the planet’s red deserts, craters and mountains in search of life, and this showcase also comes hot on the heels of Leicester’s work on the European Space Agency’s ExoMars missions, scheduled for 2016 and 2018.