ESA Panel – Exploring Mars
Come with us as the European Space Agency takes you on a journey to Mars! During this panel you’ll hear from the scientists and engineers taking our first “steps” on Europe’s journey to Mars and find out what it really takes to send our fleet of robotic explorers to the Red Planet. Not only will we tell you more about plans and preparations for Europe’s future exploration but also share stories from behind the scenes of the challenges and triumphs of our current Martian fleet.
Dr. Csilla Orgel, an exploration scientist at ESA’s centre in the Netherlands, will introduce Mars and why it’s such an exciting destination. She’ll dive into how we’re preparing for the landing of our first Mars rover – Rosalind Franklin – what it is and how targeting the real-life landing of a car sized robot on another planet is way more complicated than it is in Star Trek (if only we had transporters)!
Following that, operations engineers Armelle Hubault and Andy Johnstone will talk about how they channel their inner MacGyver like to keep Europe’s fleet of Mars missions flying today. Their job is to keep our spacecraft flying no matter what happens and flying to Mars means expecting the unexpected! Armelle and Andy will let you in on the secrets behind the “MacGyverisms” that we’ve crafted over the years to overcome the challenges and forge our path into the Solar System.
Dr. Csilla Orgel
Csilla is a planetary geologist and remote sensing expert working on the landing sites for future Mars and Moon robotic exploration missions. She studied Earth Sciences and Geology at University of Budapest and Freie Universitaet Berlin. She obtained her PhD at Freie Universitaet Berlin in 2020, working on the early bombardment history and large craters of the Moon and Mercury. She is currently working as a Moon/Mars Exploration Scientist at ESA ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. She is big fan of Star Trek and Stargate.
Armelle is a Spacecraft Operations Engineer at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. With close to 20 years’ experience flying ESA’s interplanetary spacecraft, it’s been quite a trek from Earth to Comet 67/P and then on to Mars. Now settled around Mars orbit, Armelle flies the Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter mission and in her spare time says she still has too many hobbies! Her favourite spaceship (except of course our real missions!) is Battlestar Galactica’s Mk.3 Viper.
Andy is a Spacecraft Operations Engineer at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. He has been flying spacecraft for over a decade, both around Earth and beyond into the Solar System. He currently works on Europe’s first mission to Mars – Mars Express – taking care of the “vintage” but still incredible machine as it flies around Mars. His sci-fi passion is Star Wars, Dune and 40k. He also organizes an amateur filmmaking club at ESOC, which has produced some amazing sci-fi shorts.