Mars Express mission facts
| How the mission was named:
|| Mars Express is so called because it will be built more quickly than any other comparable planetary mission. Beagle 2 was named after the ship in which Charles Darwin sailed when formulating his ideas about evolution.
| Prime contractor:
|| Astrium, Toulouse, France, leading a consortium of 24 companies from 15 European countries and the US
| Launch date:
|| 2 June 2003
|| Soyuz/Fregat, built by Starsem, the European/Russian launcher consortium
| Launch mass:
|| 1120 kg (including 113 kg orbiter payload and 60 kg lander)
|| Beagle 2
| Orbiter instruments:
|| High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC); Energetic Neutral Atoms Analyser (ASPERA); Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS); Visible and Infra Red Mineralogical Mapping Spectrometer (OMEGA); Sub-Surface Sounding Radar Altimeter (MARSIS); Mars Radio Science Experiment (MaRS); Ultraviolet and Infrared Atmospheric Spectrometer (SPICAM);
| Spacecraft operations:
|| European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany
| Ground stations:
|| ESA ground station in New Norcia, near Perth, Australia. Foreseen operational duration: One Martian year (687 Earth days) is funded. The spacecraft is designed for a further Martian year's operation.
| Arrival at Mars:
|| December 2003
| Lander mission management:
|| University of Leicester, UK
| The Mars Express Orbiter will:
- image the entire surface at high resolution (10 metres/pixel) and selected areas at super resolution (2 metres/pixel);
- produce a map of the mineral composition of the surface at 100 metre resolution;
- map the composition of the atmosphere and determine its global circulation;
- determine the structure of the sub-surface to a depth of a few kilometres;
- determine the effect of the atmosphere on the surface;
- determine the interaction of the atmosphere with the solar wind.
| The Beagle 2 lander was planned to:
- determine the geology and the mineral and chemical composition of the landing site;
- search for life signatures (exobiology);
- study the weather and climate.