Ar­rival of Mars Ex­press and Bea­gle 2

All About Space - - Mars Express -

Mars Ex­press is equipped with a so­phis­ti­cated in­stru­ment suite fit­ted with sur­face/sub­sur­face, at­mos­phere and plasma in­stru­ments able to re­veal re­mark­able de­tails about Mars. This cul­mi­na­tion of years of ideas, con­struc­tion and trav­el­ling through space all re­lied on Mars Ex­press en­ter­ing a safe or­bit around Mars.

Launched with Mars Ex­press was the first Bri­tish-built Mar­tian lan­der, Bea­gle 2. The lan­der was re­leased from Mars Ex­press on 19 De­cem­ber, six days be­fore the mother craft en­tered or­bit around Mars, and sci­en­tists hoped that it would un­cover im­por­tant clues as to Mars’ an­cient as­tro­bi­ol­ogy. Un­for­tu­nately, con­tact with Bea­gle 2 was never made after its sched­uled touch­down date and ESA de­clared it lost in Fe­bru­ary 2004.

Mars Ex­press’ main en­gine fired the space­craft into a highly el­lip­ti­cal or­bit

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