Once, the existence of water on Mars was just a scientific supposition. Now, we have concrete evidence, meaning life on the Red Planet is a real possibility.

Dr Pietro Baglioni studied mechanical and aerospace engineering and has worked at the European Space Agency for 29 years. For the past ten years, he has spearheaded the combined ESA and Roscosmos ExoMars Project, an astrobiology project to detect life on Mars. This week he spoke to the Engineering and Design Societies about his work.

The history and environment of Mars has helped scientists to understand its transition from a water-covered planet into a cold, dry one, completely exposed to damaging ionising radiation. Dr Baglioni explained the aims of the ExoMars Project, which hopes to determine the possibility of future habitation on Mars, and to detect and preserve any life and evidence for past life on Mars.

A new drone, which has a launch date of 2022, might make this goal attainable, as the drone will analyse soil samples that it retrieves, searching for water-based compounds as evidence of life.

Press Officer Phelps Tin left the virtual society meeting remarking ‘I will follow the progress of the 2022 drone carefully, and am incredibly excited to see how space exploration will develop in the future!’