Welcome to the Student Hub Live! The countdown is on for our Mars Mission special - join us for blast off on 21 October at 11.30am

SHL ExoMars Transcript (PDF)

“I LOVE the detective element in my work”, says OU planetary scientist Matt Balme. “Studying Mars is a combination of spatial recognition, intuitive thinking, hard maths and science – and most exciting of all, one day we’re going to go there!"

Nearly seven months after the launch of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission, excitement is reaching fever pitch as the spacecraft is due to reach the Red Planet by mid-October.

The Orbiter is circling Mars to discover if methane gas exists in the atmosphere - something that could signal the presence of life on the planet in the past. Co-principal Investigator for the methane-sniffing NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery) Instrument on board the Orbiter, Dr Manish Patel, and his team at The Open University have been instrumental in the development of specific apparatus on the NOMAD Instrument.

In this new two-hour Student Hub Live Mars Landing special, Dr Patel's deputy, Jon Mason, along with Matt Balme and other OU space scientists, will join host Karen Foley to discuss the ExoMars Mission. Our experts will talk about the Lander, discuss the Orbiter - uniquely designed to map the Martian atmosphere, and describe NOMAD. They will discuss their experiences of collaboration with international space agencies; what they are hoping to find; what the implications of their findings might be; and what this means for future missions such as the ExoMars Rover.

As always, the event is online, interactive and open to everyone. The interactive chat room will be open from 11.30am and during the live event from 12pm you can send your tweets to @StudentHubLive (#StudentHubLive16), email us at studenthub@open.ac.uk, complete the online voting tools, send us your comments and take part in the online discussions.

To get involved click on the 'Count me in' button above. A full programme of the event and details of each session will be available soon.

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