History

The Odyssey and Express missions

The Odyssey and Express missions

The NASA Odyssey and Express missions have been the first programs for Mars exploration of the 21st century.

Mars Odyssey

The Mars Odyssey arrived in the Martian orbit on October 24, 2001 and, since then, has collected more than 130,000 images, and still continues its mission in the exploration of Mars sending information to the Earth about the geology of the red planet, its climate and mineralogy.

The main mission of the Mars Odyssey was to obtain evidence on the presence of water and volcanic activity on Mars. During the years that it has remained in the orbit of the planet, the Odyssey has allowed to create maps of minerals and chemical elements, as well as to identify regions with ice water under its soil.

Similarly, the Mars Odyssey has determined that the radiation in the low orbit of Mars is approximately double that which exists in the same orbit of the Earth, an essential aspect for the possible human exploration of the red planet.

Mars express

For its part, the Mars Express, after its arrival in Mars on December 25, 2003, has explored the Martian atmosphere and surface from the polar orbit. The Mars Express mission in the exploration of Mars has been since its inception the search for water under the Martian soil. In this way up to 7 scientific instruments have been used to carry out different investigations that allow answering the fundamental questions about the geology, atmosphere, surface environment, presence of water and the possibility of life on the red planet.

The Mars Express, consisting of the Mars Express Orbiter and the Beagle 2 landing module, had a difficult mission. Although the Beagle 2 was not designed to move, it carried with it an extraction equipment and the smallest mass spectrometer ever created, along with other devices to accurately analyze the soil below the Martian surface. However, numerous attempts to contact the Beagle 2 landing module failed, declaring itself lost in February of the following year. Despite this, the Mars Express Orbiter confirmed the presence of water ice at the south pole of Mars.

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Mars Pathfinder on the surface of MarsMars Exploration Rovers