Mars Express Project Scientist goes East and West
20 October 1999Mars Express is the outcome of more than ten years of planning by ESA and the European space science community, Agustin Chicarro, Mars Express Project Scientist told the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology in Moscow last week.
The mission will recover some of the lost scientific objectives of Mars 96, the Russian spacecraft which crashed into the sea shortly after launch, and ESA's Intermarsnet study which was not chosen in the 1996 mission selection round. Both the International Mars Exploration Working Group and ESA's advisory bodies recommended it be included in the agency's science programme.
Due for launch by a Soyuz rocket in 2003, Mars Express will consist of an orbiter and small lander, Chicarro told the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Association in Padua, Italy also last week. The scientific objectives include searching for extraterrestrial life and subsurface water and producing very high-resolution maps of the surface and atmospheric composition.