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Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.
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 by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF