PPARC media invite: Aurora - UK prepares for return to Mars

12th June 2006
10.30 Press Conference starts (Registration from 10.00)
The Royal College of Pathologists, Carlton House Terrace, London

In December 2005, the UK committed itself to a return to Mars with the European Space Agency's Aurora programme. The first mission in this exciting programme of exploration – ExoMars – is slated for launch in 2011. ExoMars will consist of a lander and a rover, and builds on the technology developed for Beagle 2 and Huygens, and the scientific and technological success of its mothership Mars Express.

PPARC is announcing a £1.7 million investment in R&D for the rover; entry, descent and landing systems technology; and to develop a suite of sensors that will probe the Red Planet in unprecedented detail, including the tantalising search for life!

This press conference will provide an opportunity to learn about PPARC's preparations for the UK's return to Mars.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Mike Healy, EADS Astrium
  • Dr Mark Sims, University of Leicester
  • Professor John Zarnecki, Open University

Photo Opportunity: A prototype of the ExoMars rover will be at the event.

Doors open at: 10.00
Press Conference starts at: 10.30
Lunch will be provided.

All attendees must register in advance with Jill Little, Email [email protected] Tel 01793 442012 or online at http://www.pparc.ac.http://artcl/mediaevent.aspx

For press queries, contact Julia Maddock, Email [email protected] Tel 01793 442094


The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four broad areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science. PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, the European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility.

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