Life on the Surface of Mars ?
The indirect, circumstantial, evidence is mounting, but no proof
has been produced so far.
Now scientists believe that there may be liquid water in some periods
of the year in certain regions of the surface of Mars.
Other scientists are reviewing evidence fom the data of the historic
1976 Viking missions, also producing tantalizingly ambigous results.
Finally, the controversy surrounding the matian rock found in Antarctica,
by many considered to contain bacterial fossils, has never really
On earth, the study of alien-like life forms in extreme conditions
like oceanic vents has taught us where and what to look for, but
still we have not found any direct evidence even of microbial life
on the red planet.
Only 3 of the many landing probes ever sent to Mars ever managed
to land safely, but this year 3 landing missions, one from Europe
(Beagle 2 lander on board of the Mars Express Mission) and two from
the US (Mars Exploration Rovers), will try again, carrying new instruments,
explicitly aimed at settling the contoversy.
Will they make it ? In this page we will record their efforts ...
Beagle2 -- Mars Express
Mars Express will be the first 'flexible mission' in the revised
ESA long-term scientific programme and is planned to be launched
towards Mars in June 2003 by a Soyuz/Fregat rocket.
The spacecraft will carry a remote observation payload with some
heritage from European instruments lost on the ill-fated Russian
Mars 96 mission, as well as a lander communications package to support
Mars lander missions from 2003 to 2007. The spacecraft will arrive
at Mars in late December 2003.
As a result of the relative positions of Mars and Earth in 2003,
a launch during this window offers the shortest journey, the minimum
transit time, allowing the maximum payload with the reduced fuel
Mars Exploration Rover
NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, will
launch toward Mars in 2003 in search of answers about the history
of water on Mars.
The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration
Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet.
The program seeks to take advantage of each launch opportunity to
go to Mars, which comes around every 26 months as the planets move
around the Sun. Scheduled for two separate launches between June
5 and July 15, 2003, the two rovers will be delivered in landing
craft to separate sites on Mars in January 2004.