We live in a golden age of Mars exploration. This year alone, 3 international missions have arrived at Mars – the UAE’s Hope, China’s Tainwen-1 and NASA’s Perseverance rover. Hope, the first Mars ‘weather satellite’, went into orbit on 9 February. Tianwen-1 went into orbit on 10 February, and a lander and rover is planned to land in May 2021. Perseverance landed on 18 February, to look for signs of life near the surface. It carried the Ingenuity helicopter, which will undertake the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
The next Mars mission, the ESA-Russia Rosalind Franklin rover, is due for launch during the next launch opportunity, on 21 September next year, landing on 10 June 2023. The rover was built at Airbus, UK and the scientific ‘eyes’, PanCam, are led from the UK, which also participates in the Raman spectrometer. Rosalind Franklin will drill two metres below the harsh Martian surface to look for signs of past life on Mars. Samples will also be gathered by Perseverance for return to Earth by another NASA-ESA mission in 2026 or 2028. The UK is building the ‘sample fetch’ rover.
Prof Andrew Coates from UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, and PanCam Principal Investigator, will share the excitement of current and future Mars exploration in this talk, looking some of the early results from the 2021 missions, and his hopes for the future missions, especially Rosalind Franklin.
Joining the lecture
We are currently planning for this lecture to take place online. Should restrictions allow for the lecture to be held on Campus we will ask you to re-register your place.
You can join the live online lecture from 18:00 – 19:00 on Wednesday 7 July 2021 by registering through Eventbrite. A link will be emailed to you before the event allowing you to view the lecture via Microsoft Teams - no account is required.