Topic Progress:

Martians Living on Mars?

Mars is not a hospitable place, the low pressure, low temperature and high concentration of CO2 means that humans would quickly suffocate and freeze, worse then the effects of being at the top of Mount Everest. So what makes us think that life can exist on Mars at all?

Life on Mars could be different to the life we see around us every day, but not so different to the types of life we can find in extreme locations around the Earth. These Extreamophiles can survive in areas where most other life can not. By looking at what limits these forms of life can survive on Earth we can start to look at if such life could survive on Mars.

The Search for Life

Based on these extreamophiles scientists can begin to look for the chemical signs that life exists on Mars today. The lifeforms on Earth that can survive in Mars conditions are known as Methanogens. This is because they consume Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen and produce Methane and Water as waste.

As part of the ExoMars mission, the European Space Agency Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is currently looking for life signs in the Mars atmosphere and on its surface.

Its The Fine-Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector (FREND) is scanning the surface to see if it has traces of Hygrogen in minerals or water, to a depth of one meter below the Mars surface.

Also its The Nadir and Occultation for Mars Discovery (NOMAD) and The Atmospheric Chemistry Suite (ACS) instruments are taking the most accurate measurements of the Martian atmosphere, right down to knowing all the particles in a sample of a billion molecules.

Where future ExoMars missions will include a Rover that will autonomously search Martian soil for life.


Mars

The ExoMars spacecraft is almost complete. A joint mission between ESA and Roscosmos, it begins with the launch of the ExoMars orbiter in 2016 and carries an aerodynamically designed capsule containing a robotic lander.

Further Materials, Resources & Information

Below you will find more resources and external websites related to this lesson.

Full STEAM Ahead – Space Exploration Education Grant

UK Space AgencyThis lesson has been produced as part of the Full STEAM Ahead Project with the UK Space Agency. We are one of eight organisations across the UK to be awarded to deliver and produce exciting new education outreach activities and projects. The UK Space Agency are delighted to be able to support these projects, which represent a diverse selection of cross-curricular activities that meet it’s education objectives in encouraging children to take up STEAM subjects, raise awareness of careers in space-related areas, and raise awareness of the UK’s exploration programme.


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Dr James Davies MP Supports G2G Communities “I am very proud to support G2G Communities and would like to thank you for the dedication you have shown to the community of Rhyl, the outreach work also ensures that the benefits of this organisation are not only felt in Rhyl but throughout the Vale of Clwyd. It is encouraging to see that you are able to target the most hard to reach members of the community and offer them opportunities they may not have had access to or felt able to engage with previously.” – Read the full article >

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Sandie on the New Skills, New Life Course “I have only been at G2G Communities for a short time but have gained valuable experience in computer skills. All the staff has been friendly and helpful. It has not only improved my computer skills, but has also helped me with my own self confidence. If anyone was to ask if doing this course was worth it I would certainly encourage them to do it.” – Read the full article >

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Liam on the Emergency First Aid Course “The Emergency First Aid Course was a very useful option as it only lasted one day and gained me a qualification which lasts 3 years. The tutoring was very good and grabbed my attention all the way through. I would recommend this course to anyone who is given the option to do it, 10 out of 10” – Read the full article >

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Charles on The New Skills, New Life Course “I have learned a lot here, all the one to one support has helped me learn quicker and better, any problems I have had they sit down with me and talk it over, which personally I find easier to handle rather than someone standing in front of a class and just dictating to me. This course has helped me to get job interviews, has given me confidence to ask questions and get answers, I am very glad to have been on this course.” – Read the full article >

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