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Missions to Mars: Mars Express

The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) has years of experience in the development of both theoretical models and instruments for on-board space missions to study planetary atmospheres.

This is why the SPICAM-Light experiment, an international project with contribution from the institute, was chosen for the mars Express mission. The Mars Express satellite was launched on the 2nd June 2003 with a planned operational lifetime of 1 Martian year. It is still working today.

ESA Mars Express website

Mars Express (Credits ESA)
Mars Express
(Credits ESA)


The scientific goals of the Mars Express instrument payload package are:

Mars Huyghens Rim (Credits ESA, HRSC on Mars Express)
Mars - Rand Huyghens
(Credits ESA, HRSC on Mars Express)
  • Global high resolution photo-geology with a resolution of 10m
  • Mapping of mineralogical properties of the global surface of Mars with a spatial resolution of 100m.
  • High resolution studies of global atmospheric circulation and chemical composition of the atmosphere.
  • Study of the structure of the subsurface and the permafrost
  • Study of the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere.
  • Study of the interaction between the atmosphere and the interplanetary medium.

ESA Mars Express science website


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