Was there life on Mars? Amongst the excitement of space missions to the Red Planet, successful landings and the deployment of the Mars Rover, its easy to forget that the vital analysis of samples retrieved from the surface will take place here, on our Blue Planet.
Image courtesy Validair
In preparation for the return of soil samples, the University of Leicester has designed a new doublewalled
isolator to provide a super‐sterile research and analysis environment, protecting the
invaluable Martian material from earthly contaminants. That protection will be constantly
monitored by a TSI AeroTrak 9110‐01 Airborne Particle Counter supplied by Validair Monitoring
The entire Mars project looks to the future, in more ways than one. With these extra‐terrestrial
exploration projects spanning many years, planning is crucial. Even though soil samples from the
surface of Mars are not expected back on Earth for 10 years, the new isolator, its instruments
including the Validair APC, and the research facilities will be ready and validated. Some of the
students at the University’s Space Park working on project preparations today will be fully qualified
research scientists by the time the analysis process begins. At that point, we can expect to be closer
to answering the question: was there life on Mars?