On 19th October 2016, The European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will go into orbit around Mars for the first time in a search for signs of life on the planet. On Sunday 16th October 2016, the Schiaparelli Lander will jettison from the orbiter and by 16:00 (BST) on Wednesday 19th October 2016, Schiaparelli should have landed on the red planet, marking the first successful European mission to the surface of Mars. You can find out more about the OU's involvement with this on our research website or look into the fascinating world of space by using the hashtag #OUSpaceMonth.
Find out more about the red planet
This article is part of the Astrobiology Collection on OpenLearn. This collection of free articles, interactives, videos and courses provides insights into research that investigates the possibilities of life beyond the Earth and the ethical and governance implications of this.