As the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission begins its six-month journey to the planet, we talk to its director-general Professor Jan Woerner about drilling into the Martian surface and pose the crucial question: is there life on Mars? We also find out how scientists are recycling historic data to create a virtual reality simulation of the planet’s terrain, and explore some of the obstacles to a crewed Martian mission.
Sending astronauts to Mars poses several large challenges, among them a long journey filled with life-threatening radiation from cosmic ray exposure and solar flares. Not to mention the fact that we haven’t yet worked out how to get them back again.
In August, we look at the social impact of mega events such as the Olympic Games, the links between sports and society, the benefits of high-intensity interval training, and how, one day, part of your football boots could have scored a winning goal at the World Cup, if shoemaker adidas gets its way.
This month Horizon looks at the latest technology to turn on power in places which are off the grid. We learn about solar power tech that's being used to clean water, bring internet to mobile phones and even sustain temporary housing pods after a disaster. We also hear from Michael Gera, who’s investing in off-grid energy companies in Africa, so that businesses can stay open and children can study after the sun goes down.
Imagine being able to hear, feel and think – but not see or move. Around you, you can hear doctors and family members saying that you cannot understand or make decisions.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) could have the potential to energise remote areas of the world, but it faces one major obstacle – the amount of water it uses. Now, thrifty water sprinklers, tailor-made rotors and hybrid sunlight-biomass boilers could cut the water bill of concentrated solar power and even help generate electricity when the sun doesn't shine.
It could help them communicate.
It could help bring affordable electricity to arid regions.
Consumers can now design their own trainers.