SESSIONS & STARS
MARS DAY 22

There was an unbelievable line-up on board with sessions throughout the day from our speaker crew below.

Mission crew landed on their favourite Mars topic, booked for a session or two, or joined in for the whole day! Some embarked on a solo mission, some joined with friends, family or their class at school…all booked in advance for their own Mars Day Mission!

You can see the full mission timetable below from Monday 14 March 2022

Mars Day session 1

UK SPACE AGENCY MISSIONS AND PROGRAMMES

SUSAN BUCKLE

Space Careers Lead, UK Space Agency

SUE HORNE

Head of Space Exploration, UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space – a single voice for UK space ambitions.

Sue Horne talked about the UK’s involvement in exciting Mars missions, collaboration with other spacefaring nations and the thriving UK space industry. She highlighted how going into space helps protect the Earth and all our futures. Susan Buckle spoke about how the UK Space Agency works with ESERO-UK and other organisations to inspire the next generation to take up STEM subjects. Susan highlighted the One Million Interactions programme – an initiative from the UK Space Agency, ESERO-UK, and the Careers and Enterprise Company –  for STEM Ambassadors to achieve one million interactions with young people every year.

Mars Day session 2 - Credit - ESA

ESA’S EXPLORATION PROGRAMME

DR DAVID PARKER

Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, European Space Agency (ESA)

ESA’s future for human spaceflight and robotic exploration is a sustainable and international endeavor to visit new places and discover new things. Exploring space is about travelling farther and coming back with new experiences and knowledge to help us on Earth.

Dr Parker highlighted ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration. Dr Parker will highlight ESA programmes including regular astronaut missions to the International Space Station; Europe’s contributions to Artemis including the European Service Modules for Orion and two of the four main elements of the lunar Gateway.

RoboKids logo on black

WAS THERE LIFE ON MARS AND HOW TO FIND IT

DR JORGE VAGO

ExoMars Project Scientist, ESA

Mars was similar to Earth at the time when life appeared on our planet, more than four billion years ago..

Whereas we have explored various sites on the Martian surface, Dr Vago explained it is only recently that we have realised that we must make a trip back in time to investigate the very early history of the red plane. Not just on the surface, but at depth, where clues of a possible early biosphere may be preserved.

Mars hour icon

MARS HOUR

The Mars Day crew invited schools to run space-themed activities in classrooms alongside fellow schools nationwide. Using an array of free resources from ESA, ESERO-UK and other space partners there was a (real) Mars Hour full of activities to choose from.

Dallas Campbell and Dr Suzie Imber led Mars Hour from Mission Control. They have a galaxy full of experience in space discussions, exploration and interviewing space stars.

Check out Mars Hour here.

RoboKids logo on black

ROBOKIDS ACTIVITY

FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS 

RoboKids took classes on a fun and inspiring journey into the future of space, programming and robots. They helped programme the friendly robot “Nao” for a joint human and robotic Aurora mission to Mars.

An educational show for children aged 4-11. Presented by spacefun.co.uk and funded by the UK Space Agency

Image credit - Deep Blue Globe - ESA

SCIENCE IN SPACE​

DR BECKY SMETHURST

Astrophysicist. Science communicator. YouTuber, author and Research Fellow at the University of Oxford ​

Led by Dr Becky Smethurst and featuring an awesome panel of UK STEM Ambassadors working in (the) space (industry). We discovered how they participate in space missions; their journeys from studying science subjects to becoming a member of a thriving UK space industry, and were inspired by the contribution being made to national and international space exploration.

As well as researching the growth and effects of supermassive black holes on their galaxies, Dr Smethurst posts weekly videos on her YouTube channel, ‘Dr. Becky’, which has over 360,000 subscribers. She has also written a public book, ‘Space: 10 Things You Should Know’ which was named one of Sky at Night magazines Top 20 books of 2019.

ESAs Solar Orbiter mission will face the Sun from within the orbit of Mercury at its closest approach - Image credit - ESA - ATG medialab

TECHNOLOGY IN SPACE

SUSAN BUCKLE

Space Careers Lead, UK Space Agency, former Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager for Tim Peake’s Principia mission

Led by Susan Buckle and featuring an awesome panel of UK STEM Ambassadors working in (the) space (industry). We discovered how they participate in space missions; their journeys from studying to becoming a member of a thriving UK space industry, and were inspired by the contribution being made to national and international space exploration.

With an unconventional path into the Space industry via a degree in Experimental Psychology, Susan went on to train astronauts at the European Space Agency’s European Astronaut Centre in Germany, before moving to the UK Space Agency to work on British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission. Her mission is to inspire the next generation through the UK Space Agency‘s education programme.

Sentinel-1 - the first Earth observation satellite to be built for Europes Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme - Image credit - ESA- P Carril

ENGINEERING IN SPACE

JOHN CHINNER

Principal Electrical Engineer and Faculty Leader, Airbus Defence and Space Engineering Academy

Led by John Chinner and featuring an awesome panel of UK STEM Ambassadors working in (the) space (industry). We discovered how they participate in space missions; we heard about the journeys from studying engineering to becoming a member of a thriving UK space industry, and were inspired by the contribution being made to international space exploration.

Working in the largest aerospace company in Europe, John is involved in projects such as Rosett and the Solar Orbiter launched to study the Sun.

Visit Uranus with the Royal Observatory virtual planetarium show

MATHS IN SPACE

DR JANE MACARTHUR

Cosmochemist, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Manchester

This session was led by Dr MacArthur and featured hidden heroes in the thriving UK space industry. We discovered how they participate in space missions here on Earth, their journey stemming from studying maths and how it launched them into adventures where you don’t have to be an astronaut to work in space.

Jane is a cosmochemist and the curator of the UK Antarctic meteorite collection, retrieved by the Lost Meteorites of Antarctica project. Her route to academia involves a Maths degree and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, and then after an MSc in Planetary Science she completed her PhD studying a new martian meteorite and grains from the Comet Wild 2, returned by NASA’s Stardust mission.

NASA’s Dr Jim Green- Photo Credit: (NASA/Carla Cioffi)

THE HISTORY OF MARS EXPLORATION

DR JIM GREEN

NASA Senior Advisor, former Chief Scientist and Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division

PROFESSOR DAVID SOUTHWOOD CBE

Former Chair of UK Space Agency, Director of Science & Robotic Exploration ESA and various NASA projects, now Senior Research Investigator, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College London

These two legends of Mars exploration covered enthralling adventures and achievements in our quest to reach Mars, right up to the current missions.

Pioneering cooperation between teams in Europe and the US, Dr Green and Professor Southwood have had a hand in every significant Mars mission up to the current day. Dr Green has been involved in every NASA space mission since 1980 including the Perseverance mission; Professor Southwood, as well as landing missions on Comets and Moons, has also played his part in every ESA mission to Mars.

Apollo 11 Mission - Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

THE SAMPLE FETCH ROVER

DR PIETRO BAGLIONI

SFR Team Leader, ESA

Dr Baglioni explained how it will find samples on the surface of Mars and prepare them for shipment to Earth.

The Mars Sample Return program aims to return to Earth soil samples collected on the surface of Mars, to allow scientists to better characterize the geological history of the planet and study the possibility of past or present life in it. ESA is contributing to this enterprise with a number of elements, including a Rover designed to find the samples cached by Mars 2020 mission and bring them back to a lander equipped with a Mars Ascent Vehicle.

This illustration depicts NASAs Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars - Image credit - NASA-JPL-Caltech

THE NASA MARS 2020 MISSION – ANNIVERSARY ACHIEVEMENTS

SANJEEV GUPTA

Professor of Earth Sciences, Imperial College London

DR KEYRON HICKMAN-LEWIS

Earth Scientist, Natural History Museum

PROFESSOR MARK SEPHTON

Dept. Head of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London

PROFESSOR CAROLINE SMITH

Head of Earth Sciences Collections, Natural History Museum

For the first time ever top UK scientists involved in NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission came together and gave an anniversary update on the mission.

The UK members of the NASA Mars team celebrated the discoveries over the last year from Perseverance, Ingenuity and the next steps to search for evidence of life on Mars. We found out how the contribution from the UK space industry assists in the mission’s success.

ESAs Solar Orbiter mission will face the Sun from within the orbit of Mercury at its closest approach - Image credit - ESA - ATG medialab

LIVE FROM NASA – ADVENTURES DRIVING AND FLYING ON MARS

KERI BEAN

Systems Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity deputy lead rover driver and flyer of Ingenuity on Mars

SOPHIA MITCHELL

Systems and Surface Operations Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, driver of rovers on Mars and Perseverance sample collector

Direct from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, two members of the Mars 2020 Mission team beamed in live to celebrate their adventures over the last year.

On Mars Day 21 we caught up with Sophia Mitchell, driver of the Mars Curiosity rover. Returning one year later we found out about her new adventures including being instrumental in taking samples on Mars with the Perseverance rover. Plus we heard from Keri Bean, deputy lead rover driver and her unbelievable Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flying!

Sentinel-1 - the first Earth observation satellite to be built for Europes Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme - Image credit - ESA- P Carril

THE SCI-FI HISTORY OF MARS

DR JIM GREEN
NASA Senior Advisor, former Chief Scientist and Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

DR HOLLIS ROBBINS
Dean of Arts & Humanities, Sonoma State University, California and founder of Science Fiction Talks on Clubhouse.

With special guest Dr Robbins, Dr Green discussed the history of science fiction and the huge part Mars has played in this over the centuries

With his decades of experience at NASA, Dr Green has had his hands in every significant NASA space mission since 1980 including the current Perseverance mission. As one of the main consultants on The Martian, he also has a great passion for Mars fiction as well as Mars fact. His special guest, Dr Robbins, has published and lectured widely about the history of exploratory and imaginative literature as a method of envisioning scientific and human progress.

Images courtesy of:  NASA/JPL/USGS; ESA; NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Airbus Defence and Space; ESA and Airbus; NASA;  NASA/JPL-Caltech