The payload of Mars Express re-confirmed

The Science Programme Committee of the European
Space Agency at its meeting on 9-10 November 1999 re-confirmed
the payload of the Mars Express mission as approved in May 1998,
with two important additions:

  • an Infrared channel,
    which was added to
    the SPICAM, UV and
    IR Atmospheric
    Spectrometer (PI:
    J.-L. Bertaux). In the
    light of the loss of
    NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter, the new SPICAM
    configuration allows the recovery of a good part of the
    science objectives previously addressed by the Mars
    Climate Orbiter.

  • a Super Resolution Channel (SRC), added to the HRSC,
    High-resolution Stereo Colour Imager (PI: G. Neukum). This
    new channel will allow the collection of images at
    unprecedented resolution, which will create a reference
    database for many years to come.

Another important element of the payload was also confirmed.
Following the positive outcome of various reviews, both at UK and
European level, the UK Mars lander Beagle-2 was considered
sufficently mature, both technically and financially, to commence
Phase C/D in January 2000. The confirmation by SPC, as requested
by the UK SPC delegation, comes in advance of the previously
planned date (February 2000). As a consequence, the development
of the entire Mars Express payload, Orbiter and Lander, can
proceed in full harmony.