Exploring Mars

mars rover out on patrol over vast red dust land

Exploring Mars

The exploration of Mars is one of the most exciting but challenging endeavours in space science. A key UK and European mission is the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover, which will be launched in 2028 to search for signs of ancient life.

Searching for life on Mars

The ExoMars ‘Rosalind Franklin’ Rover launches for Mars in 2028, and will land in 2030. Our aim is to search for traces of ancient life in the landing site in an area of ancient clay-rich deposits called Oxia Planum. The rover has been built in the UK together with the PanCam eyes of the rover and a key part of the Raman Spectrometer to detect organic traces.

We have videos about how the rover was built, the landing site, the rover and its instruments, and lots more including the Martian Challenge Series quiz. Mars Detectives lets you use Raman spectroscopy to solve a mystery and learn more about the Raman laser spectrometer – an essential tool on ExoMars.  Finally, use #BuildingExoMars to share your favourite home-made models of Mars rovers and other future spacecraft!

On demand

Getting a 300 kg rover to Mars involves a lot of different challenges. ExoMars scientists and engineers have recorded a series of videos to explain how ExoMars was built, what its instruments are and how they work, how we are preparing for rover operations with field trials, how to get to the surface of Mars and how we selected the landing site at Oxia Planum. Be sure to test your knowledge of Mars with our Martian Challenge Series quiz using these videos.


Share your favourite home-made models of Mars rovers and other future spacecraft using the hashtag #BuildingExoMars. You can use any materials you prefer. Lego prizes are on offer for the best ones on our gallery. Our ExoMars scientists will choose five winners on the basis of originality and relevance to Mars or other space exploration. Winners will be notified by 31 July 2021 via the social media account they submitted their entry. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

Schools only: Any school contributing their #BuildingExoMars photos will receive some PanCam (the "eyes" of the Rover) stickers for their pupils. Schools should share their image with the hashtag, and our social media team will contact the posting account with details of how to receive the stickers.

Useful links

Banner for the Royal Society's Summer Science 2021 festival taking place 8-11 July

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