Methane on Mars

I was very excited to read about the discovery published last week by NASA’s Curiosity rover of the seasonal variation in the amount of methane in Mars’ atmosphere. Curiosity found that the average methane concentration varied from 0.24 parts per billion (ppb) in the northern hemisphere winter to around 0.65 ppb in the summer. This… Continue reading Methane on Mars

Schiaparelli on Mars -updated

As most of you will already know, and much to our disappointment, the Schiaparelli probe failed to land successfully on Mars last Wednesday. The plan was that when it entered the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft would immediately begin to slow down to 1700 km/h as a result of the friction caused by the atmosphere hitting its heat-shield.  When it reached… Continue reading Schiaparelli on Mars -updated

Schiaparelli on Mars.

On 14 March 2016 the European Space Agency used facilities at  Baikonur in Kazakhstan to launch their long awaited mission to Mars, the not so snappily named ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and, bolted onto it, a smaller probe called Schiaparelli. Although the much larger TGO will only orbit Mars, next Wednesday, 19 October, Schiaparelli will attempt… Continue reading Schiaparelli on Mars.

Short post of the month – April 2016: Life on Mars?

On 14 March 2016 the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) spacecraft was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on a seven month mission to Mars. When it arrives at the red planet, it will study how the distribution of the gas methane varies according to position on the planet's surface and over the course of time. Image from ESA   What is… Continue reading Short post of the month – April 2016: Life on Mars?