Back to Mars

The UK is to invest 108.1 million Euros into the first phase of the European Space Agency’s robotic space exploration programme.


The UK is to invest 108.1 million Euros into the first phase of the European Space Agency’s robotic space exploration programme – Aurora, making it the second largest contributor.



The majority of the cash will go into ExoMars (101 million Euros) – ESA’s Mars Exploration mission which is due to launch in 2011, arriving at Mars in 2013. A further 7.1 million Euros will be used to prepare for a future Mars Sample Return mission.



ExoMars will investigate the existence of life on the planet and study Mars’s suitability for an eventual human mission. The mission will investigate the surface of Mars with a rover and will also look at what is below the surface with a seismometer, ground penetrating radar and a drill.



The technology and instrumentation prepared for ExoMars will pave the way for a future network of science stations and for a sample return mission.



The UK also committed 374.3 million Euros to ESA’s science programmes, representing approximately 18% of the total ESA science programme budget of 2080 million Euros.