Feeds

UK targets ExoMars mission with £1.7m funding package

Wants to be a leading player

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The UK's astronomy research funding body, PPARC, has earmarked £1.7m to develop technology that will seek out evidence of past or present life on Mars.

The cash, part of the UK's commitment to the European Aurora programme, will be split across nine projects to develop technology and instruments for the 2011 ExoMars mission, Europe's first solo mission to the red planet.

PPARC (Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council) says the money will be spent on furthering research in areas when the UK already has a proven track record. It aims to build on the knowledge gained from the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission, and the hugely successful Mars Express orbiter and Huygens probe.

Professor Keith Mason, PPARC's Chief Executive, said: "Mars Express has, and still is, delivering outstanding science from orbit around the Red Planet...but we have unfinished business on the surface. To really understand the mysteries of Mars we need ground-truth data and ExoMars will deliver that with the rover and base station".

UK researchers will use the money to put forward plans for a rover to explore the surface, a chip capable of identifying organic materials and a panoramic camera to map the planet in three dimensions. Other projects include a microseismometer to detect any Marsquakes, entry, descent and landing systems and a simulation to model parachute behaviour on Mars.

The remainder of the money will go to developing an atmospheric experiment package, and instruments to study the geology of the planet, and the type and amount of radiation reaching the surface.

Professor Mason says the funding will put UK teams in a strong position to win "leading roles" in the ExoMars mission itself. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?