PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Express spacecraft production. Part of the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter spacecraft sitting in the clean room of a factory. Mars Express was launched in June 2003 and entered Martian orbit on 25 December 2003. It is carrying instruments to map the mineral composition of the planet's surface and the composition of the atmosphere, as well as a high-resolution stereo camera. The orbiter also carried the lander Beagle 2, which was released on 19 December 2005. Beagle 2 failed to make contact and was lost. 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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