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  Thanks for the interesting information, Fabrizio. I've been following
this somewhat, but didn't really know where to look for more details.

  Even though a manned mission to Mars would be a tremendously expensive
undertaking, I firmly believe that it's worth it. Look at all the money
thrown away building bombs, which accomplish nothing positive!

  Anyway, it's missions like this which will hopefully pave the way for
such a project. Sorry for the ramble, but I think that the ESA and NASA
come under far too much criticism for "not being cost-effective", etc.

	Take care,
	Steve, N0RLB

On Wed, 4 Jun 2003, Fabrizio Bernardini wrote:

> Unfortunately many press releases misses an important point.
> Mars Express is primarily an 'orbiter' mission with a wealth of
> instruments which will probe the planet around the pericentre
> of each elliptical orbit of the probe.
> The Beagle lander, added later to the mission, will have a much
> shorter mission than that of the orbiter.
> It may be noteworthy the fact that Mars Express hosts instruments
> which were lost during the Mars-96 Russian attempt. In addition to
> them there is the Italian/US radar sounder, MARSIS, which is the
> first planetary sounder radar launched since the experiment flown
> on Apollo 17. Aim of MARSIS is that to probe below the surface
> of Mars and try and discover deposits of water. This is one of
> the primary scientific objectives of the entire mission.
> Radioamateurs may be interested in knowing that MARSIS operates
> around 4 MHz and, therefore, it sports two very wide antennas:
> a 40 meters dipole (two 20m arms) and one 7 meters monopole. The
> antennas will be deployed after Mars orbit has been reached successfully.
> Please check the ESA Mars Express web page for more details on
> this very exciting mission, now on its way in interplanetary transfer
> orbit after a successful launch.
> 73s
> Fabrizio Bernardini, FBIS, I0QIT
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