Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Sunday, 28 June 2009 11:03 UK

Uni summit reaches for the stars

ExoMars rover
The exhibition will feature Bridget, a prototype for the ExoMars rover

A Devon university is hosting a summit of the European Space Agency (Esa) and the United States space agency, Nasa.

The University of Plymouth is providing the venue for the agencies' Bilateral Science Summit. About 20 delegates will attend from Monday to Wednesday.

Topics would include robotic exploration, the university said.

As well as hosting the annual summit, the university is holding a week-long exhibition featuring a vehicle being planned for a mission to Mars.

The Space and Exploration Exhibition, which is open to the public and free to enter, will be held from Monday until Thursday.

The exhibition will give people the opportunity to see "Bridget", a prototype test model of the ExoMars rover vehicle due to be sent to Mars in 2016.

Other exhibits will include 3D murals of the Martian landscape.

The university said it was "delighted" to welcome its guests and that both events would strengthen the relationships it already had with both agencies.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Purcell said: "Plymouth's bold, dynamic approach and spirit of innovation is marking us out as the enterprise university.

She added: "This visit will serve to further strengthen our links with Esa and Nasa in the city, bringing young people into science and growing our world-class research and international links."

The meeting between Esa and Nasa officials is expected to set out a roadmap for Mars exploration. The agencies say their future ventures at the Red Planet will be joint endeavours.

The cost of sending probes to Mars means international co-operation is the only way forward, officials believe.

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