DAVID DUCROS / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Express spacecraft orbiting Mars, artwork. The Valles Marineris canyon system is seen on the planet's surface just below the spacecraft. Mars Express is a European Space Agency (ESA) unmanned probe that was launched in June 2003 and reached Mars in December 2003. The spacecraft carried out its aerobraking maneouvre, entered orbit, and deployed its solar panels. The orbiter's instruments include spectrometers to analyse the mineral composition of the planet's surface and atmosphere, and a high-resolution stereo camera to map the surface. The Mars Express mission is still continuing as of 2007, and has been extended to at least 2009.
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