Mars is a volcanic world, covered nearly entirely in basaltic rocks. While the planet's geological history remains elusive for lack of in-situ samples or probes of its internal structure, its uniform surface composition was thought to result from an unremarkable magmatic history. However, this is questioned by a recent study lead by ESO and IAS, which has revealed a new rock type on Mars.
Meeting in Paris on 18-19 June, ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) gave the go-ahead to continue funding science operations for 10 remarkably productive science missions (including SOHO and Mars Express), all of them working beyond their planned lifetimes and all of them nevertheless continuing to deliver exceptional science.
ESA celebrated the 10 year anniversary in space of Mars Express, launched on June 2, 2003 from the Baikonour space centre. Mars Express, which is still in operation, is the first planetary space mission of ESA. For the first time, the satellite performed coupled analyses of the various Martian envelopes, from the exosphere and the high atmosphere to surface and subsurface, thanks to six instruments, including OMEGA, of which IAS is Principal Investigator. This space mission was very successful; it changed major paradigms in understanding the history of Mars.