Mars Express Launch

Mars Express LaunchSo, the Mars Express has been successfully launched on a Soyuz rocket last night from Baikonur Cosmodrome. It’ll take 6 months to get there, where the orbiter will map the martian sub-surface, surface, atmosphere and ionosphere.

The lander has a bunch of instruments on board, including a set of stereo cameras, a microscope, a Gas Analysis Package, various Environmental sensors, a Mössbauer Spectrometer, an X-ray spectrometer, a Corer/Grinder and a “mole” which will crawl across the surface, find an interesting rock, and start digging under it. Then it’ll bring a sample back to the lander for analysis. Pretty spiffy stuff.