The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft will build on past missions to Mars. From the pioneering Viking missions onwards, our knowledge of Mars has been transformed and we now have an extraordinarily detailed picture of the planet. There are dust storms, polar ice caps and four distinct seasons. Mars has the largest volcanic mountain in our solar system and a canyon stretching over 5000 kilometres.
This film covers what we have learnt in particular from Europe’s Mars Express mission. Since its arrival in 2003, it has found evidence of water on Mars, discovered methane in the planet’s atmosphere, mapped the structure and composition of the south polar ice cap, discovered auroras and made the closest ever flybys of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons. Mars Express also helped scientists select the landing site for the NASA Mars Curiosity rover, which arrived in Gale crater in 2012.
More remains to be learnt from Mars. Not least, whether the methane results from geological activity or past or present life.
Read more about ExoMars:
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