ALENIA SPAZIO / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALENIA SPAZIO / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Express spacecraft after launch from Earth, artwork. The solar panels have not yet been extended, and the Fregat fuel tanks are seen under the spacecraft. This is a European Space Agency (ESA) unmanned probe that was launched in June 2003 and reached Mars in December 2003. It comprised an orbiter and the British Beagle 2 lander (attached at upper right). The orbiter's instruments are being used to map Mars. The Mars Express mission is still continuing as of 2007, and has been extended to at least 2009. The Beagle 2 lander was intended to land on Mars, but it failed to make contact after its release from Mars Express on 19 December 2003.
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