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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!, by the National Research Council, focuses on K-8 science classsrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store, as well as classroom materials.
This picture shows the area within Isidis Planitia where scientists hope Beagle 2 will land. The orange oval is where they hope the lander will touch down. The oval is 174 km (108 miles) long.
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Image courtesy European Space Agency (ESA) - Illustration by Medialab

Mars Express Landing Site - Isidis Planitia

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission to Mars in June of 2003. The mission is called "Mars Express". The Mars Express spacecraft has two parts. One part will orbit Mars for at least one Martian year. A year on Mars lasts 687 Earth days, so it is longer than a year on Earth. The second part of Mars Express is a lander named "Beagle 2". Beagle 2 landed on Mars on Christmas day in 2003.

The Beagle 2 lander will look for life on the surface of Mars. Beagle 2 landed in a flat area called "Isidis Planitia" that is inside an old crater. There may have been a lake inside the crater many years ago. Scientist hope that Beagle 2 will find life on Mars. Scientists don't know whether Mars has or not. If Mars does have life, it is probably some kind of microbe that lives in water. So scientists are looking for water on Mars. If Isidis Planitia had water, it will be a good place to look for life.

Last modified December 26, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA