In a HARDtalk programme broadcast on 2 October, Stephen Sackur talks to the head of the British part of the Phoenix Mars mission, Dr Tom Pike.
Dr Tom Pike with one of the instruments from the Phoenix Mars lander
In May this year a space craft the size of a pick up truck landed on the frozen Northern plains of Mars.
The Phoenix lander has provided the most detailed picture ever of the red planet's soil and ice.
Now some of the world's top scientists are analysing the data to figure out what it means for the possibility of life on Mars.
One of them is Dr Tom Pike, who heads the British contingent on the Phoenix mission.
His team at London's Imperial College have constructed a microscopy station for the Phoenix lander which analyses the soil and dust collected from the planet's surface.
Shouldn't scientists focus on the challenges facing all of us right now, here on planet Earth?
Dr Tom Pike talks to Stephen Sackur.
HARDtalk is broadcast on BBC World News at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 14:30 GMT, 20:30 GMT and 22:30 GMT
HARDtalk can also be seen on BBC News at 04:30 BST & 23:30 BST