First Mars Express Science Conference

Status Report From: European Space Agency
Posted: Monday, February 28, 2005

image After a week of major announcements about Mars and the results from ESA's Mars Express mission, ESA held a press briefing on 25 February to present the main conclusions of the First Mars Express Science Conference.

Overview of scientific instruments

An introductory presentation was made by A. Chicarro, ESA Mars Express Project Scientist.

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ASPERA results

Presented by S. Barabash, ASPERA co-Principal Investigator.

ASPERA is measuring ions, electrons and energetic neutral atoms in the outer atmosphere to reveal the numbers of oxygen and hydrogen atoms (the constituents of water) interacting with the solar wind and the regions of such interaction.

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MaRS results

Presented by M. Pätzold, MaRS Principal Investigator.

MaRS uses the radio signals that convey data and instructions between the spacecraft and Earth to probe the planet's ionosphere, atmosphere, surface and even the interior.

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SPICAM results

Presented by JL. Bertaux, SPICAM Principal Investigator.

SPICAM is determining the composition of the atmosphere from the wavelengths of light absorbed by the constituent gases. An ultraviolet (UV) sensor will measure ozone, which absorbs 250-nanometre light, and an infrared (IR) sensor will measure water vapour, which absorbs 1.38 micron light.

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PFS results Presented by V. Formisano, PFS Principal Investigator.

The PFS is determining the composition of the Martian atmosphere from the wavelengths of sunlight (in the range 1.2-45 microns) absorbed by molecules in the atmosphere and from the infrared radiation they emit.

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OMEGA results

Presented by JP.Bibring, OMEGA Principal Investigator

OMEGA is building up a map of surface composition in 100 metre squares. It will determine mineral composition from the visible and infrared light reflected from the planet's surface in the wavelength range 0.5-5.2 microns. As light reflected from the surface must pass through the atmosphere before entering the instrument, OMEGA will also measure aspects of atmospheric composition.

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HRSC results

Presented by G. Neukum, HRSC Principal Investigator.

The HRSC is imaging the entire planet in full colour, 3D and with a resolution of about 10 metres. Selected areas will be imaged at 2-metre resolution. One of the camera's greatest strengths will be the unprecedented pointing accuracy achieved by combining images at the two different resolutions. Another will be the 3D imaging which will reveal the topography of Mars in full colour.

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Summary of exobiology session

Presented by E. Gibson, NASA.

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Note for editors:
For latest HRSC images and more information about Mars Express please see:
For further details please contact:
ESA Science Programme Communication Service
tel: +31 71 565 3273
fax: +31 71 565 4101

ESA Media Relations Service
tel: +33 1 5369 7155
fax: +33 1 5369 7690

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