UK Space Agency Funds International Mars Rover

The UK Space Agency is announcing Pounds 10.5M for the development of instruments to search for signs of past or present life on Mars. The instruments are part of the scientific payload on the ExoMars rover to be launched in 2018 as part of a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and US space agency NASA. ExoMars is a flagship project in the UK Space Agency's science and exploration programme.
A two-step programme, the adventure begins in 2016 when NASA will launch an ESA-led orbiter to try to understand the origin and distribution of trace gases in the atmosphere of the Red Planet. In particular, it aims to explain why methane - a gas which scientists know should be destroyed in the atmosphere within a few hundred years - seems to be continuously forming at certain places on the planet.

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