HomeSpace NewsEurope's veteran Mars orbiter gets upgrade to key instrument

Europe’s veteran Mars orbiter gets upgrade to key instrument

The European Space Agency (ESA) is upgrading software on its venerable Mars Express orbiter to enable it to see beneath the surface of Mars and its moon Phobos in greater detail than before.

Mars Express has been orbiting the Red Planet since December 2003, studying its atmosphere, imaging and mapping the planet and, notably, even peeking beneath the surface for signs of water. Now, the orbiter’s Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS), which in 2018 announced evidence of a lake of salty water buried under a mile (1.5 kilometers) of ice in the southern polar region, will receive an upgrade to boost its resolution and water-seeking abilities.

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