MARS   The Mars Scan   SCAN

Basic Scan | Image Scan | Surface Scan | Environment Scan | Biology Scan | Mission Scan | Information Scan | Back to AIS

January 2004
Digging Mars

Mars Landscape next Oppurtunity landing site
Opportunity rover has landed on Mars around 2004-01-25 05:05 UTC in a small crater in the Meridiani Planum. The soil of Meridiani Planum is believed to contain Hematite, a compound of iron and oxygen, which is an important iron ore on Earth.

Puzzling rock slabs near the landing spot in contrast to the surrounding fine dark soil will be examined to see if they are made of particles left by water, wind or volcanic activities.

Spirit rover has computer problems which delay the transmission of data and driving to examine distant rocks. Before the problems Spirit had detected Olivine, a volcanic mineral consisting of iron, silicon and oxygen. Other indicators for past volcanic activity found in the soil are Pyroxene and Magnetite, a magnetic compound of iron and oxygen. The spectrometer detected also the elements chlorine and sulfur in the soil.

Mars Express orbiter has taken data with its combined camera and infrared spectrometer which show water ice and carbon dioxide ice at Mars's south pole cap.

Current Missions (updated February 2004)
Opportunity  : Rover on Mars since January 2004
Spirit  : Rover on Mars since January 2004
Mars Express  : Mars mapping orbit, Beagle2 missing
Mars Odyssey  : Mars mapping orbit
Global Surveyor  : Mars mapping orbit

January 2004
Farewell Beagle,
Hello Spirit.

After its seperation 2003-12-19 from the Mars Express orbiter, the Beagle 2 lander headed towards Mars with its science packs to examine the Mars environment. Beagle 2 should have reached Mars' surface on 2003-12-25 02:52 UTC but the orbiter Mars Express didn't receive a signal - Beagle 2 is missing.

Mars Express will continue its mission to map the planet from orbit, analyzing the atmosphere and probing with radar for water below the ground.

Mars Gusev Crater. The Mars exploration rover Spirit has reached Mars' surface around 2004-01-04 04:35 UTC after a nearly 500 million kilometers journey. A heat shield protected its descend through the atmosphere and a parachute took most of the speed. The last meters where cushioned by airbags.
High resolution infrared and panorama images show that the cameras where not affected by the jumps and bumps during the landing. The landing site in the Gusev Crater south of the Mars equator is a flat plain spotted with stones and small rocks.

First temperature measurements show a range from -15 to +5 degree Celsius making the landing spot quite favourable compared with current winter temperatures in Canada close to -40 degree Celsius.

The six wheeled rover with an average speed of about 36 meters an hour will drive around 100 meters during a 24 hours 39 minutes Mars day. Spirit shall explore the Mars surface for at least 3 months. The absence of distinctive land features at the site will make rover navigation a little more challenging.

Various spectrometers and a scraper enables Spirit to analyze the elements in soil and rocks. A microscopic imager allows Spirit to take a close look at the soil structure.

The next rover, Opportunity, is scheduled for 2004-01-25 to land on the other side of Mars.

Current Missions (updated January 2004)
Opportunity  : Flight to Mars -> Jan 2004
Spirit  : Rover on Mars
Mars Express  : Mars mapping orbit, Beagle2 missing
Mars Odyssey  : Mars mapping orbit
Global Surveyor  : Mars mapping orbit

Mars home 2004

Mars 2003

2001: Mars one and a half years later

June 23, 2000
Water works ?

Crater survey to close up
Features in some walls of craters, south polar pits and valleys shown in Mars Global Surveyor images may have been formed by not too long ago water flows under special conditions.

Wall of a valley These landforms appear at slopes with breaking-off spots near the top edge, grooves leading downhill and accumulations of debris at their end.

Because the weight of Mars' thin atmosphere doesn't put much pressure on flowing water, it would rapidly boil away even at lower temperatures.

NASA scientists suppose that water may exist close under the surface. Quickly evaporating water seeping from cliffs may cool down the leak blocking following water with an ice barrier. Increasing pressure could burst the barrier and thrust out larger amounts of water and rocks. When this process is repeated many times the observed landforms may result.

The absence of impact craters and also some features covering surrounding ground patterns suggest that these landforms have been developed in geologically recent times.

Water on Mars would be a great asset for future expeditions. It could provide a basis to make essentials - from beverages to air supply and fuel components.

MARS SCAN ARCHIVE with previous texts

  Basic Scan:

  Mars is the fourth planet of the Solar System
  Moons: Deimos and Phobos
  Distance of Earth - Mars orbits: 78.340.000 km
  Distance Sun - Mars: 227.940.000 km
  Time to circle around Sun: 687 days
  Diameter: 6.794 km (4.222 miles)
  Atmoshperic pressure: 0.008 bars
  Atmospheric composition: 95% CO2 / 0.13% O2
  Temperature: -140/average -60/+20 degree Celsius
  Weight: 100 kg on Earth are 38.5 kg on Mars
  Water: As ice detected in southpole area.

       little image of Mars         

Image Scan

Elevation maps
Global Surveyor images
Pathfinder images
Hubble Space Telescope
Dust Storm at Mars North Pole
Image Index
HST Archive at Cornell

Surface Scan

Zoomable Mars Map
Multi-Scale Map
MSSS Viking Image Archive

Environment Scan

Mars Position and Weather
Surface temperatures

Biology Scan

Astrobiology: Recent news on Mars life
On the Question of the Mars Meteorite

Mission Scan

1960 Marsnik 1 and Marsnik 2 unsuccessfull launch.
1962 Sputnik 22 and Sputnik 24 unsuccessfull launch.
1962 Mars 1 contact lost during flight.
1964 Mariner 3 other course due solar panel problem.
1964 Mariner 4 passed Mars in 9.900 km (6.150 miles) distance.
1964 Zond 2 contact lost during flight.
1969 Mariner 6 and 7 both fly over Mars.
          Closest approach approximately 3.500 km (2.175 miles).
1971 Mars 2 landing unit fell on Mars surface.
1971 Mars 3 landing unit landed safely.
1971 Mariner 8 fell back to Earth.
1971 Kosmos 419 unsuccessfull launch.
1971 Mars 2 and 3 reached Mars orbit.
1971 Mariner 9 entered Mars orbit.
1973 Mars 4 passed Mars due breaking problem.
1973 Mars 5 and 6 reached Mars orbit.
1973 Mars 7 unsuccessfull orbit inclusion.
1988 Phobos 1 lost during flight.
1988 Phobos 2 lost shortly before moon Phobos
1975 Viking 1 and 2. The orbiter units imaged the entire surface.
          On 1976-07-20 Viking 1 landing unit touched Mars surface.
          On 1976-09-03 followed the lander unit of Viking 2.
1992 Mars Observer get lost three days before Mars orbit.
1996 Mars-96 fell back to Earth.
1996 Pathfinder has landed successfully on Mars 1997-07-04.
1996 Global Surveyor orbits Mars since 1997-09-12.
1998 Japanese Planet B atmosphere probe launched 1998-07-04, lost 2003.
1998 Surveyor 98 Climate Orbiter launched 1998-12-11, lost 1999-09-23.
1999 Surveyor 98 Polar Lander launched 1999-01-03, lost 1999-12-03.
2001 Surveyor 2001 Lander - canceled March 2000.
2001 Orbiter "Odyssey" launched 2001-04-07 surveys Mars.
2003 Mars Express launched 2003-06-02, orbit 2003-12-25, lander lost.
2003 Spirit launched 2003-06-10, arrived 2004-01-04.
2003 Opportunity launched 2003-07-08, arrived 2004-01-25.

Information Scan

Twin Rovers Spirit and Opportunity
Mars Express
ESA Mars News
ESA Mars mission

Mars Orbiter Odyssey
Mars 2001 Orbiter
Global Surveyor
PDS Mars Data
The Martian Chronicle

JPL Pathfinder Archive
Mars Mission Research Center
Mars catalog
Ecological life support

Expedition & settlement plans
K12 Mars
Spots spotting and lines lineages
Mars 'face' from another view
Mars Sun Times

Missing Mars lander Beagle 2
Surveyor mission review
Maestro Mars rovers software + data updates


Basic Scan | Image Scan | Surface Scan | Environment Scan | Biology Scan | Mission Scan | Information Scan | Back to AIS



MARS SCAN since Mai 02, 1997