What is the Science Operations Phase?
The science operations phase for the orbiter is the period of time when
the spacecraft will use its scientific instruments to study the martian environment.
The seven instruments on the Mars Express orbiter will make
observations from the main spacecraft as its polar orbit gradually moves
around to give global coverage over the mission's expected lifetime of
nearly two Earth years (one Martian year). This mission phase is
scheduled to last from March 11, 2004 to November 30, 2005.
For more information, see the Science section
on this site, or the European Space Agency's Mars Express science section.
U.S. Participation During Orbiter Operations
U.S. scientists on the instrument teams will be working with their
European colleagues on the overall science goal of this mission: to
understand the possibilities for past or present life on Mars by conducting a
thorough search for water. U.S. scientists will help research by
understanding what geological structures and minerals on Mars might have
been formed by water, the extent of subsurface water, and what the
atmosphere can tell us about the martian climate and how much water might
have been lost to space in the past.