Mars Express launch, artwork

Mars Express launch, artwork

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Credit: DAVID DUCROS, ESA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars Express launch, artwork. This European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft was launched on 2 June 2003 on a Soyuz-FG rocket. Here, the fairing has detached from the rocket's upper stage to reveal the spacecraft (upper centre). The yellow tanks are the Fregat booster that was used to raise the spacecraft from this parking orbit and eventually set it on its interplanetary trajectory to Mars. Mars Express, the ESA's first Mars mission, arrived at Mars in December 2003. Since then, its sensors have extensively mapped Mars, transmitting images and data back to Earth. The mission has since been extended to at least 2014.

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