Mars exploration tools designed by SAR engineers are being showcased on a new Web site in the countdown to a space mission in 2003. The Hong Kong team, led by Polytechnic University engineers, is part of Mars Express, a European Space Agency mission to the red planet. Scientists and engineers from 13 European countries and Hong Kong are preparing for the mission and the Polytechnic University team has been asked to develop all the territorial sampling tools. 'People are always asking us about our research, which is sometimes hard to explain,' said Dr Ng Tze-chuen, a private dentist and a member of the team. 'We posted the information with lots of pictures on the Internet so anyone interested can now call up the Web site and find out.' Mars Express is scheduled to launch in May or June 2003, when Earth and Mars are closest. The journey will take about six months. Sampling prototypes, built at the university's Industrial Centre, include a drill, grinder, underground soil sampling mole and a corer, which will extract material from beneath the surface and take rock samples. The finger-sized devices will be carried aboard Beagle 2, a British-built lander, which will be released from the agency's spacecraft in orbit. The mission is designed to search for underground water and carbon, the basis of all known life forms, after scientists recently reached a consensus that the planet had large oceans before it lost its atmosphere. The Web address is http://18.104.22.168 . Dr Ng said his team would apply for a more memorable domain name for the site.