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.
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.
This month, Horizon looks at the growing field of bio-inspired robotics to find out how nature is inspiring machine design. We investigate the surgical tools that mimic how octopus arms become flexible or stiff on demand, sensors based on the orientation ability of maggots, and marine robots inspired by lilypads, fish and mussels.
Enhancing trust in science through public engagement and open, transparent research is vital if we are to avoid descending into a 'post-factual society', according to Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.
Open data can help increase transparency and trust in research.
It has adjusted its plans.
Dr Daniela Thorwarth is working on targeted treatments that could increase cancer cure rates.