PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Express spacecraft construction. Engineer examining blueprints for the Mars Express spacecraft seen behind him, in the clean room at the Alenia Spazio company, Turin, Italy. Parts of the engine are at upper centre. This is a European Space Agency (ESA) unmanned probe that was approved for construction in January 2000, launched in June 2003, and reached Mars in December 2003. Its instruments are being used to map Mars and analyse the composition of the planet's surface. The initial Mars Express mission, which was for one Martian year (687 Earth days), is still continuing as of 2007, and has been extended to at least 2009. Photographed in 2002.
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