The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft was launched in early June 2003. On arrival at the Red Planet six-and-a-half months later, it has since orbited the planet nearly 12,500 times.
From that orbital perch above Mars, the spacecraft has provided scientists with unprecedented images and data collected by its suite of scientific instruments.
A showcase of images taken by ESA’s Mars Express has been assembled, taking the viewer on a sweeping journey across the face of the Red Planet.
The data have been used to create an almost global digital topographic model of the surface, providing a unique visualization – one that enables researchers to acquire new and surprising information about the evolution of the Red Planet.
The images in the unique movie were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the video was released by the DLR German Aerospace Center as part of the ten years of Mars Express celebrations.
The music has been created by Stephan Elgner of DLR’s Mars Express planetary cartography team. DLR developed and is operating the stereo camera.
“The Mars Express mission was due to end after one Mars year – or about two Earth years,” said Ralf Jaumann, project manager for the mission at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
But during the past 10 years ESA has kept extending the mission. The spacecraft is now due to continue orbiting Mars until the end of 2014.
“That is actually the bottom line on the past 10 years; everything is still functioning perfectly and we are still acquiring new data that is important for Mars research,” said Jaumann.
Take your own personal flyover of Mars at:
Copyright ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
By Leonard David