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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 called "Mars Express" in June of 2003. The Mars Express spacecraft has two parts: an orbiter that will circle the Red Planet for at least one Martian year (687 Earth days), and a lander named "Beagle 2" which touched down on the surface of Mars on December 25, 2003.

Beagle 2 landed in a flat area called "Isidis Planitia" that is inside an old crater. Isidis Planitia is just north of the equator on Mars. Isidis Planitia is very low, and may have been a lake or a bay along the edge of an ocean. Beagle 2 will search for life on Mars. Places that have or had water are the best places to search 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