Feeds

ESA grants Mars Express another (Martian) year

A 23-month extension

The next step in data security

The European Space Agency (ESA) has extended its Mars Express mission by another Martian year. That's around 23 months in Earth money.

The Mars Express mission is the first fully European mission to another planet. It launched back in 2003 from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and also carried the ill-fated Beagle2 lander.

Martian north polar ice cap showing layers of water ice and dust in perspective view

Since arriving in orbit around the red planet, the satellite has revealed that the face of Mars is much more complex than scientists had thought. It has sent back data on the present day climate system on Mars the planet's geological history, identified aurorae and has begun mapping water deposits.

It has confirmed the presence of methane in the Martian atmosphere which in conjunction with the possible detection of formaldehyde, suggests either current volcanic activity, or possibly even active biological processes.

The orbiter has also confirmed evidence of glacial processes near the equator and mapped carbon dioxide and water ice near the poles. Its analysis of the minerals in the Martian surface also suggests that lakes or seas probably existed on the planet for long periods of time.

The mission extension will mean that the satellite can continue mapping the planet's surface with its High Resolution Stereo Camera. So far, only 19 per cent of the surface has been imaged at high res. It also means the MARSIS radar can continue its subsurface studies - and in particular its hunt for water. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.