UC-Santa Barbara to direct Mars soil test

Dec 14, 2005

The European Space Agency announced Tuesday its support of a program that will include development of an instrument for testing deep soil samples on Mars.

The testing, to be conducted during a European mission called ExoMars, will be directed by University of California-Santa Barbara research scientist Luann Becker.

"We are very excited about this," said Becker. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Testing by the two NASA rovers are currently operating on Mars has spurred ESA interest in developing different, new and highly-sensitive instruments to search for present or past life on Mars.

The ExoMars rover will contain a drill that can reach soil samples up to 6 1/2 feet (two meters) under the Martian surface.

Becker said she anticipates the American contribution to the ESA's Molecular Organic Molecule Analyzer development will be funded by NASA.

MOMA will be included as part of the ExoMars mission to Mars in 2011.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists at work: Living on a simulated Mars

Feb 05, 2014

According to Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, establishing a permanent presence beyond Earth is the first step humans will take towards the "divergence into a new species". Plans to visit and even colonise ...

Desert trial for ESA Mars rover

Oct 07, 2013

(Phys.org) —Next week will see ESA's most ambitious planetary rover test yet. Robotic exploration of a Mars-like desert in South America will be overseen from the UK, providing experience for future missions ...

Searching for organics in a nibble of soil

Feb 20, 2013

You might call it a high-tech panhandler, with its design for sifting through sprinkles of dirt to find tiny specks of organic material. Or you might think of it as a soil-eating-micro-espresso machine that ...

Recommended for you

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

16 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

20 hours ago

With about 4,000 planet candidates from the Kepler Space Telescope data to analyze so far, astronomers are busy trying to figure out questions about habitability. What size planet could host life? How far ...

Hot explosions on the cool sun

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The Sun is more spirited than previously thought. Apart from the solar eruptions, huge bursts of particles and radiation from the outer atmosphere of our star, also the cooler layer right below ...

User comments : 0