Feeds

UK targets ExoMars mission with £1.7m funding package

Wants to be a leading player

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.