'Explore Mars' group wants to build instrument seeking subsurface red planet life

Aug 04, 2014 by Elizabeth Howell
Artist’s concept of the proposed “ExoLance” instrument that Explore Mars would have burrow beneath the Red Planet’s surface for life. Credit: ExoLance/Indiegogo/YouTube (screenshot)

Not-for-profit group Explore Mars has a new IndieGoGo campaign that could see an instrument, ExoLance, head to the Red Planet to burrow for subsurface life. The first stage will be to raise money to build the prototype and then test it, within 12-14 months of finishing the fundraising.

No for this mission has been announced, but the group says that will be determined after testing is finished and a launch provider can be found.

"Explore Mars has devised a simple system capable of being delivered to the Martian surface to detect microorganisms living on or under the surface," the campaign page states.

"ExoLance leverages a delivery system that was originally designed for military purposes.  As each small, lightweight penetrator probe ("arrow") impacts the surface, it leaves behind a radio transmitter at the surface to communicate with an orbiter, and then kinetically burrows to emplace a life-detection experiment one  to two meters below the surface.  ExoLance combines the experiments of the 1970s Viking landers and the Curiosity rover with bunker-busting weapons technology."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The project aims to raise $250,000, but there will be milestone goals available all the way up to $1 million.

Explore further: NASA radio delivered for Europe's 2016 Mars orbiter

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA radio delivered for Europe's 2016 Mars orbiter

Jul 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —The first of two NASA Electra radios that will fly aboard the European Space Agency's next mission to Mars has been delivered for installation onto the ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.