This transmission is the third in a series of five ES TV exchanges on Mars Express and Martian exploration in general. This programme provides a look at Mars, the Rusty planet why is Mars red, and is there a link between the red colour of the Martian surface and the possible existence of life on this planet?
Mars the rusty planet
The surface of Mars looks hostile. The red colour of the planet is the result of something in the Martian atmosphere that interacts aggressively with the surface. This interaction is so strong that it makes the iron in the soil turn rusty. Life seems impossible in such an aggressive, oxidizing environment. Today the process itself is still a mystery.
Verri?res- le- Buisson, Paris. The place looks romantic. In this fort, built in the second half of the 19th century to protect the French capital from invading troops, Scientists of the National Centre for space research have developed an instrument that should solve the mystery of the oxidising atmosphere of Mars. The office of the principal investigator is as romantic as the woods around. For years now, Jean Loup Bertaux has focussed his work on an instrument called Spicam, the ultra violet and infra red atmospheric spectrometer. Today his team is calibrating the instrument to detect a source of mercury. The picture of t