Scientists have chosen the landing site of a Mars mission to investigate the signs of alien life.
The ExoMars explorer will be launched into space in 2010, but will not be grounded on the Red Planet until March 2021 and will be drilled to the surface to look for any evidence of any existing life.
Experts working on the European-Russian joint project chose an area called Oxia Planum, which was once thought to contain a large body of water a billion years ago.
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The other main competitor was Mawrth Vallis – a canal created by large floods between the southern highlands and the northern plains.
Aram Dorsum, located in the highlands of Arabia Terra, north of the Crommelin crater, was also a short list of possibilities.
The decision is expected to be officially confirmed next year, when signed by project heads.
Professor John Bridges, a member of the University of Leicester, said after four consecutive years of careful scrutiny, the fine deposits were chosen because they would be ideal for the rover drill.
He said: geçir With an immense basin area, sediments will seize the organics captured in a wide variety of environments, including areas where life may exist, for a long time.
”A large group of scientists were working to assert, characterize and overcome the fascinating aspects of all of the sites, but the Oxia Planum was a clear winner in both science and engineering constraints.“
The layers of clay-rich minerals in the region suggest that there was once a large lake.
When the planet is two meters below the planet's surface, water on the planet will drill for signs that indicate that life on the planet was four billion years ago.
Jorge Vago, an ExoMars project scientist with the European Space Agency (ESA), said: bilim We are in search of biosecurity with ExoMars.
”While both regions offer valuable scientific opportunities to explore ancient water-rich environments exploited by microorganisms, the Oxia Planum has received most of the votes.“
The construction of a robot in Mars was difficult in the past, so the election had to think that the most likely areas were actually against the chance to land on a ship in the region.
The low-level Oxia Planum region is thought to provide more time for a parachute to slow down the robot's surface landing.
“Our final goal is seeing and getting very excited, üyor said Sue Horne, head of the ESA's space exploration.
This story actually appeared in the Sun.