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On a Mission to Mars

2nd December 2011

Last week-end NASA launched its most ambitious rover mission to Mars to find out whether the planet is, or ever has been, suitable for life. The launch rocket carrying the six-wheeled vehicle (roughly the size of a Mini Cooper) blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Nicknamed Curiosity, the rover’s journey to its final destination will take approximately eight and a half months.

For those people who can’t wait that long to find out about life on Mars the Natural History Society of Northumbria is starting a new course on Space Geology in January. This 10 week course, based in the Great North Museum: Hancock will allow students to explore a different part of the Solar System each week and learn what it can tell us about the Earth’s origin and future.

Course tutor and geologist, Derek Teasdale explains that “previous missions to Mars have helped us to understand how the planet evolved and have shown us its spectacular scenery. We know that geological processes on Mars are similar to those on Earth, for example water has created valleys in the past and there may have been life. In this course we will talk about NASA’s latest mission and how the rover will explore the red planet’s oldest rocks and what more these could tell us about Mars and Earth.”

The course starts on Wednesday 25th of January at 10.15am in the Great North Museum: Hancock, at a cost of £83 (£67 for concessions).

For more information or to book your place, contact the Society on 0191 2326386 or visit