Mars Express is a space exploration mission being conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Mars Express mission is exploring the planet Mars, and is the first planetary mission attempted by the agency. "Express" originally referred to the speed and efficiency with which the spacecraft was designed and built. However "Express" also describes the spacecraft's relatively short interplanetary voyage, a result of being launched when the orbits of Earth and Mars brought them closer than they had been in about 60,000 years.
Mars Express consists of two parts, the Mars Express Orbiter and Beagle 2, a lander designed to perform exobiology and geochemistry research. Although the lander failed to fully deploy after it landed on the Martian surface, the orbiter has been successfully performing scientific measurements since early 2004, namely, high-resolution imaging and mineralogical mapping of the surface, radar sounding of the subsurface structure down to the permafrost, precise determination of the atmospheric circulation and composition, and study of the interaction of the atmosphere with the interplanetary medium.
Due to the valuable science return and the highly flexible mission profile, Mars Express has been granted several mission extensions. The latest one, as of November 2018, is scheduled to end until the end of 2020. Also, it's expected to receiver a likely mission extension lasting until 2022.
Some of the instruments on the orbiter, including the camera systems and some spectrometers, reuse designs from the failed launch of the Russian Mars 96 mission in 1996 (European countries had provided much of the instrumentation and financing for that unsuccessful mission). The design of Mars Express is based on ESA's Rosetta mission, on which a considerable sum was spent on development. The same design was also used for the Venus Express mission in order to increase reliability and reduce development cost and time. Because of these redesigns and repurposings, the total cost of the project was about $345 million- less than half of comparable U.S. missions.
On 19 October 2014, the ESA reported the Mars Express was healthy after the Comet Siding Spring flyby of Mars on 19 October 2014 — as are, as well, all NASA Mars orbiters and ISRO's orbiter, the Mars Orbiter Mission.
Arriving at Mars in 2003, 15 years and 23 days ago (and counting), it is the second longest surviving, continually active spacecraft in orbit around a planet other than Earth, behind only NASA's still active 2001 Mars Odyssey.
CG image of Mars Express
|Mission type||Mars orbiter|
15 years, 7 months and 15 days since launch
15 years and 23 days at Mars
|Launch mass||1,120 kg (2,470 lb)|
|Dry mass||666 kg (1,468 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||2 June 2003, 17:45 UTC|
|Launch site||Baikonur 31/6|
|Periareion||298 km (185 mi)|
|Apoareion||10,107 km (6,280 mi)|
|Spacecraft component||Mars Express|
|Orbital insertion||25 December 2003, 03:00 UTC|
MSD 46206 08:27 AMT
|Spacecraft component||Beagle 2|
|Landing date||25 December 2003, 02:54 UTC|
ESA solar system insignia for the Mars Express mission
The Mars Express mission is dedicated to the orbital (and originally in-situ) study of the interior, subsurface, surface and atmosphere, and environment of the planet Mars. The scientific objectives of the Mars Express mission represent an attempt to fulfill in part the lost scientific goals of the Russian Mars 96 mission, complemented by exobiology research with Beagle-2. Mars exploration is crucial for a better understanding of the Earth from the perspective of comparative planetology.
The spacecraft originally carried seven scientific instruments, a small lander, a lander relay and a Visual Monitoring Camera, all designed to contribute to solving the mystery of Mars' missing water. All of the instruments take measurements of the surface, atmosphere and interplanetary media, from the main spacecraft in polar orbit, which will allow it to gradually cover the whole planet.
In the years preceding the launch of a spacecraft numerous teams of experts distributed over the contributing companies and organisations prepared the space and ground segments. Each of these teams focussed on the area of its responsibility and interfacing as required. A major additional requirement raised for the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and all critical operational phases was that it was not enough merely to interface; the teams had to be integrated into one Mission Control Team. All the different experts had to work together in an operational environment and the interaction and interfaces between all elements of the system (software, hardware and human) had to run smoothly for this to happen:
The spacecraft was launched on June 2, 2003 at 23:45 local time (17:45 UT, 1:45 p.m. EDT) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, using a Soyuz-FG/Fregat rocket. The Mars Express and Fregat booster were initially put into a 200 km Earth parking orbit, then the Fregat was fired again at 19:14 UT to put the spacecraft into a Mars transfer orbit. The Fregat and Mars Express separated at approximately 19:17 UT. The solar panels were then deployed and a trajectory correction manoeuvre was performed on June 4 to aim Mars Express towards Mars and allow the Fregat booster to coast into interplanetary space. The Mars Express was the first Russian-launched probe to successfully make it out of low Earth orbit since the Soviet Union fell.
The Near Earth commissioning phase extended from the separation of the spacecraft from the launcher upper stage until the completion of the initial check out of the orbiter and payload. It included the solar array deployment, the initial attitude acquisition, the declamping of the Beagle-2 spin-up mechanism, the injection error correction manoeuvre and the first commissioning of the spacecraft and payload (final commissioning of payload took place after Mars Orbit Insertion). The payload was checked out one instrument at a time. This phase lasted about one month.
This five month phase lasted from the end of the Near Earth Commissioning phase until one month prior to the Mars capture manoeuvre and included trajectory correction manoeuvres and payloads calibration. The payload was mostly switched off during the cruise phase, with the exception of some intermediate check-outs. Although it was originally meant to be a "quiet cruise" phase, It soon became obvious that this "cruise" would be indeed very busy. There were star Tracker problems, a power wiring problem, extra manoeuvres, and on the 28th of October, the spacecraft was hit by one of the largest solar flares ever recorded.
The Beagle 2 lander was released on December 19, 2003 at 8:31 UTC (9:31 CET) on a ballistic cruise towards the surface. It entered Mars' atmosphere on the morning of December 25. Landing was expected to occur at about 02:45 UT on December 25 (9:45 p.m. EST December 24). However, after repeated attempts to contact the lander failed using the Mars Express craft and the NASA Mars Odyssey orbiter, it was declared lost on February 6, 2004, by the Beagle 2 Management Board. An inquiry was held and its findings were published later that year.
Mars Express arrived at Mars after a 400 million km journey and course corrections in September and in December 2003.
On December 20 Mars Express fired a short thruster burst to put it into position to orbit the planet. The Mars Express orbiter then fired its main engine and went into a highly elliptical initial-capture orbit of 250 km × 150,000 km with an inclination of 25 degrees on December 25 at 03:00 UT (10:00 p.m., December 24 EST).
First evaluation of the orbital insertion showed that the orbiter had reached its first milestone at Mars. The orbit was later adjusted by four more main engine firings to the desired 259 km × 11,560 km near-polar (86 degree inclination) orbit with a period of 7.5 hours. Near periapsis (nearest to Mars) the top deck is pointed down towards the Martian surface and near apoapsis (farthest from Mars in its orbit) the high gain antenna will be pointed towards Earth for uplink and downlink.
After 100 days the apoapsis was lowered to 10,107 km and periapsis raised to 298 km to give an orbital period of 6.7 hours.
On May 4, 2005, Mars Express deployed the first of its two 20-metre-long radar booms for its MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) experiment. At first the boom did not lock fully into place; however, exposing it to sunlight for a few minutes on May 10 fixed the glitch. The second 20 m boom was successfully deployed on June 14. Both 20 m booms were needed to create a 40 m dipole antenna for MARSIS to work; a less crucial 7-meter-long monopole antenna was deployed on June 17. The radar booms were originally scheduled to be deployed in April 2004, but this was delayed out of fear that the deployment could damage the spacecraft through a whiplash effect. Due to the delay it was decided to split the four-week commissioning phase in two parts, with two weeks running up to July 4 and another two weeks in December 2005.
The deployment of the booms was a critical and highly complex task requiring effective inter-agency cooperation ESA, NASA, Industry and public Universities.
Operations for Mars Express are carried out by a multinational team of engineers from ESA's Operation Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. The team began preparations for the mission about 3 to 4 years prior to the actual launch. This involved preparing the ground segment and the operational procedures for the whole mission.
The Mission Control Team is composed of the Flight Control Team, Flight Dynamics Team, Ground Operations Managers, Software Support and Ground Facilities Engineers. All of these are located at ESOC but there are additionally external teams, such as the Project and Industry Support teams, who designed and built the spacecraft. The Flight Control Team currently consists of:
The team build-up, headed by the Spacecraft Operations Manager, started about 4 years before launch. He was required to recruit a suitable team of engineers that could handle the varying tasks involved in the mission. For Mars Express the engineers came from various other missions. Most of them had been involved with Earth orbiting satellites.
Since orbit insertion Mars Express has been progressively fulfilling its original scientific goals. Nominally the spacecraft points to Mars while acquiring science and then slews to Earth-pointing to downlink the data, although some instruments like Marsis or Radio Science might be operated while spacecraft is Earth-pointing.
The Mars Express orbiter is a cube-shaped spacecraft with two solar panel wings extending from opposite sides. The launch mass of 1123 kg includes a main bus with 113 kg of payload, the 60 kg lander, and 457 kg of propellant. The main body is 1.5 m × 1.8 m × 1.4 m in size, with an aluminium honeycomb structure covered by an aluminium skin. The solar panels measure about 12 m tip-to-tip. Two 20 m long wire dipole antennas extend from opposite side faces perpendicular to the solar panels as part of the radar sounder.
The Soyuz/Fregat launcher provided most of the thrust Mars Express needed to reach Mars. The final stage of the Fregat was jettisoned once the probe was safely on a course for Mars. The spacecraft's on-board means of propulsion was used to slow the probe for Mars orbit insertion and subsequently for orbit corrections.
The body is built around the main propulsion system, which consists of a bipropellant 400 N main engine. The two 267-liter propellant tanks have a total capacity of 595 kg. Approximately 370 kg are needed for the nominal mission. Pressurized helium from a 35-liter tank is used to force fuel into the engine. Trajectory corrections will be made using a set of eight 10 N thrusters, one attached to each corner of the spacecraft bus. The spacecraft configuration is optimized for a Soyuz/Fregat, and was fully compatible with a Delta II launch vehicle.
Spacecraft power is provided by the solar panels which contain 11.42 square meters of silicon cells. The originally planned power was to be 660 W at 1.5 AU but a faulty connection has reduced the amount of power available by 30%, to about 460 W. This loss of power does significantly impact the science return of the mission. Power is stored in three lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 64.8 Ah for use during eclipses. The power is fully regulated at 28 V, and the Terma power module (also used in Rosetta) is redundant. Main propulsion consists of 24 bipropellant 10 N thrusters. The spacecraft carried 1,670 kilograms (3,680 lb) of propellant at launch, composed of monomethylhydrazine fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser, providing a maximum delta-v of 2,300 metres per second (7,500 ft/s). Four of the thrusters are used for delta-v burns. During routine phase, the spacecraft's power consumption is in the range of 450 W - 550 W.
Attitude control (3-axis stabilization) is achieved using two 3-axis inertial measurement units, a set of two star cameras and two Sun sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and four 12 N·m·s reaction wheels. Pointing accuracy is 0.04 degree with respect to the inertial reference frame and 0.8 degree with respect to the Mars orbital frame. Three on-board systems help Mars Express maintain a very precise pointing accuracy, which is essential to allow the spacecraft to communicate with a 35-metre and 70-metre dish on Earth up to 400 million kilometres away.
The communications subsystem is composed of 3 antennas: A 1.6 m diameter parabolic dish high-gain antenna and two omnidirectional antennas. The first one provide links (telecommands uplink and telemetry downlink) in both X-band (8.4 GHz) and S-band (2.1 GHz) and is used during nominal science phase around Mars. The low gain antennas are used during Launch and early operations to Mars and for eventual contingencies once in orbit. Two Mars lander relay UHF antennas are mounted on the top face for communication with the Beagle 2 or other landers, using a Melacom transceiver.
Although communications with Earth were originally scheduled to take place with the ESA 35-meter wide Ground Station in New Norcia (Australia) New Norcia Station, the mission profile of progressive enhancement and science return flexibility have triggered the use of the newest ESA ESTRACK Ground Station in Cebreros Station, Madrid, Spain.
In addition, further agreements with NASA Deep Space Network have made possible the use of American stations for nominal mission planning, thus increasing complexity but with a clear positive impact in scientific returns.
This inter-agency cooperation has proven effective, flexible and enriching for both sides. On the technical side, it has been made possible (among other reasons) thanks to the adoption of both Agencies of the Standards for Space Communications defined in CCSDS.
Thermal control is maintained through the use of radiators, multi-layer insulation, and actively controlled heaters. The spacecraft must provide a benign environment for the instruments and on-board equipment. Two instruments, PFS and OMEGA, have infrared detectors that need to be kept at very low temperatures (about −180 °C). The sensors on the camera (HRSC) also need to be kept cool. But the rest of the instruments and on-board equipment function best at room temperatures (10–20 °C).
The spacecraft is covered in gold-plated aluminium-tin alloy thermal blankets to maintain a temperature of 10–20 °C inside the spacecraft. The instruments that operate at low temperatures to be kept cold are thermally insulated from this relatively high internal temperature, and emit excess heat into space using attached radiators.
The spacecraft is run by two Control and Data management Units with 12 gigabits of solid state mass memory for storage of data and housekeeping information for transmission. The on-board computers control all aspects of the spacecraft functioning including switching instruments on and off, assessing the spacecraft orientation in space and issuing commands to change it.
Another key aspect of the Mars Express mission is the its artificial intelligence tool (MEXAR2). The primary purpose of the AI tool is the scheduling of when to download various parts of the collected scientific data back to Earth, a process which used to take ground controllers a significant amount of time. The new AI tool saves operator time, optimizes bandwidth use on the DSN, prevents data loss, and allows better use of the DSN for other space operations as well. The AI decides how to manage the spacecraft's 12 gigabits of storage memory, when the DSN will be available and not be in use by another mission, how to make the best use of the DSN bandwidth allocated to it, and when the spacecraft will be oriented properly to transmit back to Earth.
The Beagle 2 lander objectives were to characterize the landing site geology, mineralogy, and geochemistry, the physical properties of the atmosphere and surface layers, collect data on Martian meteorology and climatology, and search for possible signatures of life. However, the landing attempt was unsuccessful and the lander was declared lost. A Commission of Inquiry on Beagle 2 identified several possible causes, including airbag problems, severe shocks to the lander's electronics which had not been simulated adequately before launch, and problems with parts of the landing system colliding; but was unable to reach any firm conclusions. The spacecraft's fate remained a mystery until it was announced in January 2015 that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, using HiRISE, had found the probe intact on the surface of Mars. It was then determined that an error had prevented two of the spacecraft's four solar panels from deploying, blocking the spacecraft's communications. Beagle 2 was the first British and first European probe to achieve a landing on Mars.
The scientific objectives of the Mars Express payload are to obtain global high-resolution photo-geology (10 m resolution), mineralogical mapping (100 m resolution) and mapping of the atmospheric composition, study the subsurface structure, the global atmospheric circulation, and the interaction between the atmosphere and the subsurface, and the atmosphere and the interplanetary medium. The total mass budgeted for the science payload is 116 kg.
For more than 5000 orbits, Mars Express payload instruments have been nominally and regularly operated. The HRSC camera has been consistently mapping the Martian surface with unprecedented resolution and has acquired multiple images.
| Cydonia region|
© ESA/DLR Credit — 13.7 m/pixel
Consisting of a lightweight bespoke transponder and transceiver weighing less than 650 grams, the system will provide the 10,000-kilometre UHF radio communications link between the Mars Express orbiter and Beagle-2 lander.
Albor Tholus is an extinct volcano in the volcanic province Elysium on Mars. It lies south of the neighbouring volcanoes Elysium Mons and Hecates Tholus. Albor Tholus is 4.5 kilometres high and has a diameter of 160 km at its base. Its large caldera, having a diameter of 30 km and a depth of 3 km, is deep compared to calderas on the Earth. The elevation of the lowest level of the caldera is the same as the base of the volcano; however, the original lower slopes of Albor Tholus may have been covered by lava flows from its larger neighbor, Elysium Mons. Evaluations by the Mars probe Mars Express found that the volcanoes of the Elysium region were active over long periods.Beagle 2
The Beagle 2 was a British Mars lander that was transported by the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission. It was an astrobiology mission that would have looked for past life on the shallow surface of Mars.
The spacecraft was successfully deployed from the Mars Express on 19 December 2003 and was scheduled to land on the surface of Mars on 25 December; however, no contact was received at the expected time of landing on Mars. ESA declared the mission lost in February 2004, after numerous attempts to contact the spacecraft were made.The Beagle 2's fate remained a mystery until January 2015 when it was located on the surface of Mars in a series of images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera. The images suggest that two of the spacecraft's four solar panels failed to deploy, blocking the spacecraft's communications antenna.
The Beagle 2 is named after HMS Beagle, the ship used by Charles Darwin.Cydonia (region of Mars)
Cydonia (, ) is a region on the planet Mars that has attracted both scientific and popular interest. The name originally referred to the albedo feature (distinctively coloured area) that was visible from Earthbound telescopes. The area borders plains of Acidalia Planitia and the Arabia Terra highlands. The area includes the regions: "Cydonia Mensae", an area of flat-topped mesa-like features, "Cydonia Colles", a region of small hills or knobs, and "Cydonia Labyrinthus", a complex of intersecting valleys. As with other albedo features on Mars, the name Cydonia was drawn from classical antiquity, in this case from Cydonia or Kydonia (; Ancient Greek: Κυδωνία; Latin: Cydonia), a historic polis (or "city-state") on the island of Crete.
Cydonia contains the "Face on Mars", located about halfway between Arandas Crater and Bamberg Crater.ESTRACK
The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) operates a number of ground-based space-tracking stations for the European Space Agency (ESA) known as the European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) network. The stations support various ESA spacecraft and facilitate communications between ground operators and scientific probes such as XMM-Newton and Mars Express. Similar networks are run by the USA, China, Russia, Japan, and India.Hebes Chasma
Hebes Chasma is an isolated chasma just north of the Valles Marineris canyon system of Mars. It is centered at 1 degree southern latitude and 76 degrees western longitude, just between the Martian equator and the Valles Marineris system, just east of the Tharsis region.Hecates Tholus
Hecates Tholus is a Martian volcano, notable for results from the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission which indicate a major eruption took place 350 million years ago. The eruption created a caldera 10 km in diameter. It has been suggested that glacial deposits later partly filled the caldera and an adjacent depression. Crater counts indicate this happened as recently as 5 to 20 million years ago. However climate models show that ice is not stable at Hecates Tholus today, pointing to climate change since the glaciers were active. It has been shown that the age of the glaciers correspond to a period of increased obliquity of Mars' rotational axis.The volcano is at location 32.12°N 150.24°E, in the volcanic province Elysium, and has a diameter of 182 km. It is the northernmost of the Elysium volcanoes; the others are Elysium Mons and Albor Tholus. Hecates Tholus is in the Cebrenia quadrangle.High Resolution Stereo Camera
High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) is a camera experiment on Mars Express. A version for Earth called HRSC-AX was also developed, as was a version for Mars 96. It has four main parts: camera head, super resolution channel, instrument frame, and digital unit. At an altitude of 250 km from Mars, SRC can produce images with a resolution of 2.3 meters/pixel of 2.35 km square Mars terrain. It has 9 other channels and can produce digital terrain models. A typical image from HRSC of Mars has a resolution ranging from 12.5 for nadir (directly down) to 25 m/pixel for the farthest off-nadir shots, which can be up to 18.9 degrees.By 2012, about 61.5% of the surface of Mars was mapped at a resolution of at least 20 meters per pixel by the Mars Express mission using this camera. Another area of study is repeat imaging, to allow the study of dynamic processes on Mars. Another trick is to make short videos of the Mars surface by taking advantage of the pushbroom nature of the detector, each section is slightly offset for a different color, but when combined each view be used to make a short animation.By the start of 2015, about 70% of Mars had been imaged by Mars at resolutions greater than 20 m per pixel, and 97% at resolutions of least 60 m per pixel.Korolev (Martian crater)
Korolev is an ice-filled impact crater in the Mare Boreum quadrangle of Mars, located at 73° north latitude and 165° east longitude. It is 81.4 kilometres (50.6 mi) in diameter and contains about 2,200 cubic kilometres (530 cu mi) of water ice, comparable in volume to Great Bear Lake in northern Canada. The crater was named after Sergei Korolev (1907–1966), the head Soviet rocket engineer and designer during the Space Race in the 1950s and 1960s.Korolev crater is located on the Planum Boreum, the northern polar plain which surrounds the north polar ice cap, near the Olympia Undae dune field. The crater rim rises about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) above the surrounding plains. The crater floor lies about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) below the rim, and is covered by a 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) deep central mound of permanent water ice, up to 60 kilometres (37 mi) in diameter.List of Mars orbiters
The following table is a list of Mars orbiters, consisting of space probes which were launched from Earth and are currently orbiting Mars. As of December 2016, there are up to fourteen known artificial satellites in Mars' orbit, six of which are active.MARSIS
MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) is a low frequency, pulse-limited radar sounder and altimeter developed by the University of Rome La Sapienza and Alenia Spazio (today Thales Alenia Space Italy). The Italian MARSIS instrument is operational on the European Space Agency, Mars Express orbiter mission.
The MARSIS Principal Investigator is Giovanni Picardi from the University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy. It features ground-penetrating radar capabilities, which uses synthetic aperture techniques and a secondary receiving antenna to isolate subsurface reflections. MARSIS identified buried basins on Mars. MARSIS was funded by ASI (Italy) and NASA (USA).Mars landing
A Mars landing is a landing of a spacecraft on the surface of Mars. Of multiple attempted Mars landings by robotic, unmanned spacecraft, eight have been successful. There have also been studies for a possible human mission to Mars, including a landing, but none have been attempted.
The most recent landing took place on November 26th, 2018 by the NASA probe InSight.Mawrth Vallis
Mawrth Vallis (Welsh: [maurθ]) (Mawrth means "Mars" in Welsh) is a valley on Mars, located in the Oxia Palus quadrangle at 22.3°N, 343.5°E with an elevation approximately two kilometers below datum. Situated between the southern highlands and northern lowlands, the valley is a channel formed by massive flooding which occurred in Mars’ ancient past. It is an ancient water outflow channel with light-colored clay-rich rocks.
Prior to the selection of Gale Crater for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover mission, Mawrth Vallis was considered as a potential landing site because of the detection of a stratigraphic section rich in clay minerals. Clay minerals have implications for past aqueous environments as well as the potential to preserve biosignatures, making them ideal targets for the search for life on Mars. Although Mawrth Vallis was not chosen as a landing target, there is still interest in understanding the mineralogy and stratigraphy of the area. Until a rover mission is committed to exploring Mawrth Vallis, orbiters remain the only source of information. These orbiters consist of a number of spectrometers that contribute to our knowledge of Mawrth Vallis and the rest of the Martian surface.Orcus Patera
Orcus Patera is a region on the surface of the planet Mars first imaged by Mariner 4. It is a depression about 380 km long, 140 km wide, and about 0.5 km (500 meters) deep but with a relatively smooth floor. It has a rim up to 1.8 km high. Orcus Patera is west of Olympus Mons and east of Elysium Mons. It is about halfway between those two volcanoes, and east and north of Gale crater.
It has experienced aeolian processes, and has some small craters and graben structures. However, it is not known how the patera originally formed. Theories include volcanic, tectonic, or cratering events. A study in 2000 that incorporated new results from Mars Global Surveyor along with older Viking data, did not come out clearly in favor of either volcanic or cratering processes.Mars Express observed this region in 2005, yielding a digital terrain model and color pictures.Planetary Fourier Spectrometer
The Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) is an infrared spectrometer built by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Italian National Institute for Astrophysics) along with the Istituto di Fisica dello spazio Interplanetario and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Council). The instrument is currently used by the European Space Agency on both the Mars Express Mission and the Venus Express Mission. It consists of four units which together weigh around 31.4 kg, including a pointing device, a power supply, a control unit, and an interferometer with electronics. The main objective of the instrument is to provide temperature profiles of Mars's carbon dioxide atmosphere, and to the study composition of the planet's atmosphere through the infrared radiation that is reflected and emitted by the planet.Planetary Science Archive
The Planetary Science Archive is the central repository for all scientific and engineering data returned by the European Space Agency's Solar system missions: currently Giotto, Huygens, Mars Express, Rosetta, SMART-1, and Venus Express, as well as several ground-based cometary observations. It uses NASA's Planetary Data System standards as a baseline for the formatting and structure of all data contained within the archive. All of the data sets are peer reviewed and undergo an additional internal validation procedure.
All data on the PSA are free to download and use.The Principal Investigator(s) as well as the ESA Planetary Science Archive have to be acknowledged when making a publication using the downloaded data.Schiaparelli EDM lander
Schiaparelli EDM lander [skjapaˈɾɛlːi] was the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) of the ExoMars programme—a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos. It was built in Italy and was intended to test technology for future soft landings on the surface of Mars. It also had a limited but focused science payload that would have measured atmospheric electricity on Mars and local meteorological conditions.Launched together with the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on 14 March 2016, Schiaparelli attempted a landing on 19 October 2016. Telemetry signals from Schiaparelli, monitored in real time by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India (and confirmed by Mars Express), were lost about one minute from the surface during the final landing stages. On 21 October 2016, NASA released an image by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing what appears to be the lander's crash site. The telemetry data accumulated by the TGO and ESA's Mars Express orbiters are being used to investigate the failure modes of the landing technology employed.Stickney (crater)
Stickney is the largest crater on Phobos, which is a satellite of Mars. It is 9 km (5.6 mi) in diameter, taking up a substantial proportion of the moon's surface.
The crater is named after Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, wife of Phobos's discoverer, Asaph Hall. In 1878 Hall wrote that he "might have abandoned the search [for Martian satellites] had it not been for the encouragement of [his] wife." The crater was named in 1973, based on Mariner 9 images, by an IAU nomenclature committee chaired by Carl Sagan.Stickney has a smaller crater within it, about 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter, resulting from a later impact. In 2006 it was given the name Limtoc, after a character in Gulliver's Travels.Grooves and crater chains appear to radiate from Stickney. These have led to theories about the impact that formed Stickney nearly destroying the moon. However, evidence from the Mars Express orbiter indicate that they are unrelated to Stickney and may have been formed by material ejected from impacts on Mars. More recent modelling supports the theory that the grooves are signs of deformation caused by tidal forces. The crater has a noticeable lineated texture on its interior walls, caused by landslides from materials falling into the crater. Nonetheless, in November 2018, astronomers concluded that the many grooves on Phobos were caused by boulders, ejected from the asteroid impact that created Stickney, that rolled around on the surface of the moon.It is possible that Stickney is large enough to be seen with the naked eye from the surface of Mars. It is located at the middle of the western edge of the Mars-facing side of Phobos.Terby (crater)
Terby is a crater on the northern edge of Hellas Planitia, Mars. It is in the Iapygia quadrangle.The 174 km diameter crater is centered at 28°S, 73°E with an elevation of −5 km. It is named after François J. Terby. It is the site of an ancient lakebed and has clay deposits. Using data from Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions researchers believe Terby's layers were formed from sediments settling under water. Crater counts show this happened during the Noachian period. It used to be thought that Terby Crater contained a large delta. However, newer observations have led researchers to think of the layered sequence as part of a group of layers that may have extended all the across Hellas. There is no valley large enough at the northern rim of Terby to have carried the large amount of sediments necessary to produce the layers. Other details in the layers argue against Terby containing a delta. Fan deposits are some of the thickest on Mars. Hydrated minerals, including Fe/Mg phyllosilicates, have been detected in several layers.Venus Express
Venus Express (VEX) was the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Launched in November 2005, it arrived at Venus in April 2006 and began continuously sending back science data from its polar orbit around Venus. Equipped with seven scientific instruments, the main objective of the mission was the long term observation of the Venusian atmosphere. The observation over such long periods of time had never been done in previous missions to Venus, and was key to a better understanding of the atmospheric dynamics. It was hoped that such studies can contribute to an understanding of atmospheric dynamics in general, while also contributing to an understanding of climate change on Earth. ESA concluded the mission in December 2014.