Shop Windows to the Universe

The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.
This is a picture by an artist of the Mars Express spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy the European Space Agency (ESA)

Mars Express Orbiter

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 is scheduled to touch down on the surface of the Mars on December 25, 2003.

Scientists are searching for water on Mars because they think that if they find water that would be the best place to look for life. Mars Express has a radar called MARSIS that can look through rock. Scientists hope to find water underground on Mars using the Mars Express' radar.

Mars Express will also take pictures of the surface of Mars using its color cameras. The pictures it makes will be 3D, so they will help us see the shape of hills, canyons, and craters on Mars. The cameras will be able to spot objects as small as two meters (six feet) across. The spacecraft has another, special camera that will map the minerals found on the surface of the planet.

Mars Express also has instruments to study the Martian atmosphere. The instruments will help us learn what kinds of gases are in the atmosphere. They will also help us learn how the atmosphere changes over time. Mars has seasons, like Earth, and the weather on Mars changes from season to season.

Last modified December 24, 2003 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books on science education!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Mars Express - Beagle 2 Lander

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...more

What Is a Mineral?

Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. They are non-living, solid, and, like all matter, are made of atoms of elements. There are many different types of minerals and each type is made of particular...more

Overview of the Mars Express Mission

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...more

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...more

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST found numerous...more

Apollo 11

Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the name of the first mission...more

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 was launched on Nov. 14, 1969, surviving a lightning strike which temporarily shut down many systems, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended...more

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