Missions to the Moon and Mars – the next giant leap The day after NASA launched the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover we heard more about this mission and the next giant leaps in space exploration with Professor David Southwood CBE – former chair of UK Space Agency, Director of Science & Robotic Exploration ESA and various NASA projects, Dept. of Physics, Imperial College London. The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover's astrobiology mission will search for signs of ancient microbial life. It will also characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. The mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans. Image courtesy of NASA This NEW live mini-lecture and chat is one of our Fireside chats with Friends – our very own mini-series over summer to keep you cool! It's part of our Friday with Friends offering to continue sharing knowledge as we plan our 2020/21 events programme. You can view the recording of this fireside chat here! To keep updated with future chats, make sure you are registered with us to hear about them first! Booking for this event has now closed.