Where On Mars
...should the first European rover land?
This interactive map visualisation tool shows the candidate landing sites that scientists are studying for ESA's ExoMars rover, which will search for life on Mars!
Tell me more Open map

Hey! Our project has a new home within the OpenPlanetary community and framework: What Next?


  • The "Where On Mars?" Project

    Visualising the ExoMars rover candidates landing sites

    The "Where On Mars?" project started as an ESAC Trainee Project in collaboration with CartoDB. The objective was to prototype a web map visualisation of ESA's ExoMars 2020 rover candidate landing sites; serving the general purpose of increasing public awareness of the scientific and robotic exploration of Mars in Europe. Learn more

  • The ExoMars 2020 Mission

    Searching for Life on Mars

    The 2020 mission of the ESA's ExoMars programme will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars. While the platform will study the martian environment, the rover will travel across the surface to search for signs of past and present life. It will collect samples with a drill and analyse them with next-generation instruments. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth. Learn more.

  • The Landing Site Selection Process

    How to find a suitable landing site for the rover?

    In October 2013, a Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG) was appointed to make recommendations to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). After a call to the scientific community for landing sites, four candidate landing sites were shortlisted for further investigation, both in term of scientific interest and engineering safety. In October 2015, Oxia Planum was recommended as the primary candidate for the landing site of the ExoMars 2020 mission. A further recommendation was made to also consider Oxia Planum as one of the two candidate landing sites for the backup launch opportunity in 2020. The year before launch, ESA will make the final decision. Learn more

  • The Interactive Map

    How does it work?

    The "Where On Mars?" interactive map has been designed to guide you through the main scientific and engineering constraints for the selection of the ExoMars 2020 landing site. It allows you to explore Mars and each candidate landing site using a selection of the same ESA and NASA planetary images, and additional geospatial information used by the scientists involved in the selection process. It relies on CartoDB and other open-source mapping technologies for processing, storing, and visualising data on the web. The source code of the front-end web interface is available on GitHub. Learn more

  • Explore
    the landing sites!

The Project


The objective and original idea for this project was twofold:


To experiment with the use of modern open-source web mapping technologies applied to planetary science data and geospatial information.


To increase public awareness of the ExoMars 2020 mission and, more generally, of the scientific and robotic exploration of Mars.

Given the nature of the ExoMars landing sites selection process, we hope that this project will continue as an open source and collaborative project.
How to contribute?


This project was made possible because of a collaboration of people from ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) and CartoDB, and the support of Mars scientists.

Nicolas Manaud

ESAC Trainee Project Lead

Oriol Boix

Geospatial Data & Front-End Developer

Carla Iriberri

CartoDB Support

Andrew Hill

Project Co-supervisor


Several new Mars basemaps and geospatial datasets have been created for this project.
They are all available to anyone for use in CartoDB Editor, or your web mapping applications.

You can visualise the basemaps here.
For more information how on to use them,
head to the project documentation.

How to contribute?

Whether you are an outreach and education professional, science journalist, planetary scientist, a web developer, or simply like this project, you can contribute!

Share and Follow

If you like this interactive map, spread the word and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+. The content of the map will be updated and enriched throughout the landing site selection process.
Stay tuned and Follow us on Twitter.

Give Feedback

We want this interactive map to get better and evolve until the final decision of the rover landing site. We would love to hear your feedback on utility and usability. It could relate to the narrative, data content, performance or design aspects. Contact us

Re-use and Improve

If you want to re-use and adapt this interactive map for similar projects, or if you are a developer and want to help us to improve the code, fork our repository on GitHub, and read our documentation.


We acknowledge the ESAC HR Service and the Science Operations Department for having organised and funded this ESAC Trainee Project, part of the ESA Student Placement.

We would like to particularly thank Javier de la Torre, Andrew Hill and the CartoDB team in Madrid for collaborating on this project. Thank you Carla Iriberri, Dani Carrión, Javi Santana, Alejandro Martínez, and Carlos Matallín for your enthusiasm, hospitality, and amazing support!

We acknowledge advice and data provided by the UK NASA RPIF at UCL: especially Peter Grindrod (blog) and Elliot Sefton-Nash.

We also thank the Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG) for supporting this project, in particular: Jorge Vago (ExoMars Project Scientist), and Ernst Hauber (Planetary Geologist at DLR/Berlin).

Hey! Our project has a new home within the OpenPlanetary community and framework: What Next?

Let's get in touch!

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you are interested to contribute to this project, or just to say hi!