From Mainz to Mars

9 August 2012 

Devices made in Mainz have been present on the surface of the planet Mars since a few years. After a hazardous landing, the two NASA Mars Rovers began their ambitious research program in 2004. What was originally only intended to be a three-month mission turned into an adventure lasting several years.

The space probe 'Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter' (MRO), which has orbited Mars since 2005, gazes back at our home through its telescope: the blue, water-rich Earth to the left and the dry moon to the right. (image/©: NASA/JPL) Hemisphere of Mars: The white winter polar cap at the bottom mostly consists of frozen carbonic acid snow (dry ice) and small quantities of water ice. The surface between both polar regions is a waterless desert landscape. (image/©: NASA/JPL) One of the 2 NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs). They showed that, billions of years ago, liquid water had once flowed on Mars. Mounted on the left robotic arm are 2 instruments from Mainz: a Mössbauer spectrometer built by the ... (image/©: NASA/JPL) ... Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry at JGU and an alpha particle x-ray spectrometer (APXS) constructed by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. (image/©: NASA/JPL) Panoramic image of the Victoria Crater, taken by the MER 'Opportunity'. (image/©: NASA/JPL) Panoramic image of the steep edge of Victoria Crater, taken by the MER 'Opportunity'. Using computer animation, an image of the Rover was added later to clearly show the proportions of the 800-meter-wide crater. (image/©: NASA/JPL) MER 'Spirit' looks back on the tracks which it left on the Martian surface at the beginning of its mission in 2004: signs of the presence of a man-made vehicle. In 2010, 'Spirit' sent its last radio message to the Earth. (image/©: NASA/JPL) (image/©: NASA/JPL) Landing site of 'Curiosity', the latest Mars Rover. It marks a new era in Mars exploration: the search for organic substances as one of the additional conditions (besides water) for the possibility of life on Mars. (image/©: NASA/JPL)