October 12, 2016 | Willow Enis Race

The European Space Agency is set to land a probe on Mars next week. But it might have to contend with a dust storm.

Scientists hope the Schiaparelli probe will have better luck than Beagle-2, a previous Mars lander. When it landed in 2003 its solar panels didn't deploy properly. Thorough testing of the parachute and heat shield should ensure Schiaparelli makes it to the surface unharmed.

This probe's job is to test out equipment before the launch of the ExoMars rover in 2020. The programme's overall purpose is to look for signs of life on Mars, so I really hope Schiaparelli lands safely!

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Mars Dust

It'll take more than nine minutes for radio signals from the probe to reach Earth, so we won't know straight away if it has landed.

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Image: Flickr/RidingWithRobots

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