The UCLouvain is off to conquer Mars!
Future missions to Mars could indeed be carried out partly thanks to Belgian scientists from UCLouvain.
Well known for its predilection for scientific innovation, two years ago, UCLouvain created the Louvain4Space consortium, which brings together more than a hundred scientists from different disciplines for future missions to the Red Planet.
UCLouvain was already working closely with NASA on an IT tool to determine the most reliable and profitable mission schedules. It will also contribute to the ExoMars 2020 mission. This mission, conducted jointly by the European (ESA) and Russian Space Agency will be the perfect opportunity to test the latest technological innovations from the team of scientists. During this mission, a platform equipped with several instruments, which will be used to conduct experiments, and a robot (rover) will be sent to Mars.
The instruments include the "LaRa", for which Véronique Dehant is responsible. This will be used to analyse the planet's rotation which will enable scientists to determine whether the red planet's core is liquid or solid. This instrument's antennas, which are smaller than a human hand, were developed by the university in just three months! They will allow LaRa, among others, to communicate its discoveries... So, liquid or solid, LaRa will tell us soon enough!