Vanguard: a new development in experimental astrobiology



Alex Ellery and David Wynn-Williams propose a new UK astrobiology project, in which a micro-rover would deploy ground-penetrating moles to burrow into the Martian subsurface.

One of the linchpins of the UK’s contribution to the burgeoning field of astrobiology is the Beagle 2 mission, due to fly to Mars in 2003 on the Mars Express bus. Given that NASA has declared its intention to focus on “whole planet” geological investigation in its future Mars missions, beginning with the Mars Exploration Rovers which are due to fly in 2003/2004, the UK is well placed to consider post-Beagle 2 astrobiology-focused Mars missions to ensure its leadership in the future in astrobiology. In this paper we present such a proposal – Vanguard.