Dr Gerhard Kminek
The Aurora Exploration Program
The overall objective of the Aurora exploration program is to prepare the next step for manned solar system exploration. The scientific objectives of the Aurora exploration program have been defined and approved by the Exploration Program Advisory Committee (EPAC) and the Aurora Board of Participants (ABP). The primary scientific objective for the first missions is to look for signatures of extinct and extant life on Mars. The secondary scientific objective is to determine potential hazards for future manned missions. These scientific objectives are reflected in the first Flagship mission studies: ExoMars and Mars Sample Return. A characterization of the environment will be part of the exploration strategy. Geological, geo-chemical and atmospheric investigations shall be conducted if they support the primary and secondary scientific objectives. Landing site selection and payload complement will be determined by the primary and secondary scientific objectives only.