Mars Express instrument testing

Mars Express instrument testing

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Mars Express instrument testing. Technicians testing the MARSIS instrument for the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter spacecraft. MARSIS is a sub-surface sounding radar altimeter. It emits low frequency radio waves from a 40 metre long antenna towards the Martian surface. It can map sub-surface structures to a depth of a few kilometres. Its primary objective is to map the distribution of water (both liquid and solid). Mars Express was launched in June 2003 and entered Martian orbit on 25 December 2003. The initial mission, which was for one Martian year (687 Earth days), was extended in September 2005 by another Martian year.

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