Aurora - Europe's journey to Mars

A collection of ten videos describing Aurora's mission to Mars. The topics covered in the films include:

  • Why we explore: the film explains the reasons behind scientists' search for the evidence of signs of past life on Mars
  • Astrobiology: the video explains how scientists look at life that exists in extreme environments on Earth, to see what kind of life we might see on the surface of Mars.

  • Atacama Desert: the film describes a research trip to find extremophiles that might give scientists some clues as to the kind of life that may exist on the surface of Mars.  

  • Instrument field trials: explains how the ExoMars instruments, the Pancam and Raman spectroscopy instruments can both help scientists identify areas of interest on the surface of Mars.

  • PanCam engineeringshows how precision machines are used to produce the PanCam instrument, which will be sent to the European Space Agency to be integrated on to the ExoMars rover.

  • Autonomous navigation: explains how the Mars rover technologies must be partly autonomous, since the signals from Earth to Mars take too long for every command to be send from Earth.

  • Mars Yard: looks at how the ‘Mars Yard’, at Airbus Defence and Space, Stevenage, allows engineers to test out the capabilities of the ExoMars rover.  

  • Landing Sites: talks about how challenging it is to find a scientifically compelling site for the ExoMars rover to land in.

  • Raman spectroscopy: looks at the spectrometer which shows the organic compounds that were found on the quartz, as well as the composition of the quartz itself.

  • Collaborative science: explains how scientists from many different disciplines have been brought together for the European Space Agency Aurora programme. 

Resources

Why we explore

Planetary scientist, Professor Andrew Coates, explains why scientists look for the evidence of signs of past life on Mars.  He talks about the history of Mars and the current harsh environment on the planet. This video is part of a series of ten which look at the one of the elements of the European...
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2010 to date

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Astrobiology

Dr Claire Cousins and Mark Fox-Powell explain how scientists look at life that exists in extreme environments on Earth, to see what kind of life scientists might see on the surface of Mars.  This knowledge helps scientists plan the best target for a rover.Professor Cockell takes us through the astrobiology...
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2010 to date

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Atacama Desert

Astrobiologist Dr. Lewis Dartnell talks from the Atacama Desert about a research trip to find extremophiles that might give scientists some clues as to the kind of life that may exist on the surface of Mars.  Lewis shows how quartz can act as a natural sunscreen to enable cyanobacteria to grow in the dry desert...
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2010 to date

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Instrument field trials

Professor Andrew Coates and Dr Ian Hutchinson explain how the ExoMars instruments, the Pancam and Raman spectroscopy instruments can be combined to help scientists identify areas of interest on the surface of Mars.  The video shows how field trips are important to learn first-hand the challenges that the...
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2010 to date

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