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 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.
In April, Horizon looks beyond the hype of smart drugs and brain stimulation to examine less extreme ways for people to sharpen their mental abilities. We find out about the wearable tech that can train police officers to make better decisions, discover how a videogame can stimulate empathy, and learn how meditation changes your brain.
Researchers are hoping to usher in an urban energy revolution by fitting our homes with third-generation solar cells, micro wind turbines and seasonal energy storage.
Your bills may never be the same.
What sets the super-intelligent apart from the rest of us?
Hydrogen will play a bigger role in Europe's transport and energy sectors but we have to let people know the tech is ready, says Bart Biebuyck.