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According to Science – Ars Technica (This article and its images were originally posted on Science – Ars Technica June 1, 2018 at 09:36AM.)
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The Mars Express spacecraft (and lander) was the first interplanetary mission fully developed by the European Space Agency, representing both a failure and a spectacular success for the continent. It launched on June 3, 2003.
The failure came up front, when the British-built Beagle 2 lander never phoned home after it was sent to the surface on Christmas Day, 2003. More than a decade later, scientists discovered that two of the lander’s four solar panels had failed to deploy, which blocked the antenna the lander was to use to communicate with the Mars Express spacecraft.
For a time, this high-profile failure obscured the fact that Mars Express remained in orbit around the Red Planet and worked just fine. But now, as the spacecraft marks its 15th anniversary in space, we can fully appreciate its achievements. With a combination of high-resolution cameras, stereo images, altimeters, and spectrometers, Mars Express has revealed Mars in new and fascinating ways.
Some of our favorite images have come from the icy poles and chasms with very Earth-like mesas inside. Over time, Mars Express has helped reveal the Red Planet’s watery past and potential for harboring life long ago. The gallery above highlights some of the best views of Mars captured by Mars Express and is best enjoyed when maximized to full screen.
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This article and its images were originally posted on [Science – Ars Technica] June 1, 2018 at 09:36AM. All credit to both the author ERIC BERGER and Science – Ars Technica | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day.