Science from Mars Express after one year in orbit

02/16/05



Mars Express will leave Earth for Mars on 2 June 2003 when the positions of the two planets make for the shortest possible route, a condition that occurs once every twenty-six months. The intrepid spacecraft will start its six-month journey from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan onboard a Russian Soyuz/Fregat launcher. Credits: ESA-D. DUCROS
Click here for a high resolution photograph.

After reaching its observational orbit around Mars a year ago, ESA's Mars Express has already delivered an avalanche of scientific data of unprecedented quality that have completely changed the way in which we think about the Red Planet.

In order to compare views and discuss the implications of the new discoveries, over two hundred scientists will be attending the first Mars Express science conference, taking place from 21 to 25 February at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, the Netherlands. With over a hundred presentations from scientists from Europe, the United States, Japan, Russia and other countries, the discussions will cover all aspects of this ground-breaking investigation, from an historical perspective to the latest surprising findings. The topics addressed include results from the interior and subsurface of Mars; its geology, mineralogical composition and surface chemistry; the polar regions and their ice caps; the climate and atmosphere of Mars and the interactions between surface and atmosphere; the space environment around Mars and its moons. A special session on exobiology and the search for life on Mars is being held on the afternoon of Thursday 24 February.

Members of the media are invited to attend all sessions, but may be particularly interested in the conference summary on Friday 25 February, at 14:00 CET. During the briefing, lasting about an hour, the Principal Investigators of all active experiments on board Mars Express will summarise the major scientific achievements of the first year in orbit and outline the plans for future research. The briefing will include a summary of the discussions on exobiology and the search for life on Mars, and an overview of European plans for future exploration of Mars. A question-and-answer session will follow and ample time is set aside for one-on-one interviews.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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