Mars Express and Beagle 2, artwork

Mars Express and Beagle 2, artwork

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Caption: Mars Express and Beagle 2. Mars Express (left) is a European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft launched in June 2003. Here, the spacecraft with solar panels deployed has arrived at Mars and, just prior to entering orbit, has deployed the Beagle 2 lander (upper right) on 19 December 2003. Beagle 2 was a British probe designed to land on the surface of Mars. However, the landing failed and contact was lost. Mars Express is the ESA's first Mars mission. Its sensors have extensively mapped Mars, transmitting images and data back to Earth using the spacecraft's dish antenna. The mission has since been extended to at least 2014.

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