Exploring the planet Mars|
The 8 planets of our solar system orbit round the Sun in almost circular orbits. The 4 planets closest to the Sun have all a solid surface like the Earth. The next four planets are large gaseous planets.
Mars is the outermost of the four inner planets. It is called the red planet because parts of the surface are covered with reddish sand and dust. It is, in fact, possible to observe rough features on the surface of Mars from the Earth.
Space probes are sent to Mars in search of signs of life.
Why does the Planet Mars fascinate us?
|Facts about Mars|
|Mars is the planet closest to the Earth. Mars has many characteristics similar to our Earth. Since Mars may be so easily observed and its atmosphere being so thin and transparent, we know more about Mars than about any other planet round the Earth.|
|Earlier space probes to Mars|
|Space probes are unmanned space shuttles with scientific material on board. They are intended either to pass, travel in orbit round or land on a celestial body in order to return data to the Earth.|
|The Mars Express mission|
|The European spacecraft Mars Express was launched 2nd June 2003 and the landing vehicle Beagle 2 was scheduled to land on planet Mars on Christmas Day 2003. This is Europeís first journey to Mars.|
|The spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter|
|NASA’s spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched 12th August 2005 and on the 10th March 2006 it was sent into orbit round Mars. The space probe is to orbit round Mars for at least four years, and is expected to give better information about the weather, climate and the geology on the planet.|
|The Space Probe Mars Phoenix|
|NASA’s space probe Mars Phoenix was launched 4th August 2007. It is going to collect samples of ice and earth at the North Pole of Mars. The probe will enter the Mars atmosphere about the end of May 2008. Then it has covered about 680 million kilometres.|