facts about the spacecraft
Mars Express is a spectacular piece of machinery. Check out the following
extraordinary facts about a spacecraft that is taking Europe's first trip to the Red
spare parts department for Mars Express would have to be enormous. Counting
the electronic circuit peices, the metal pieces and all the bits of
plastic, it takes more than 300,000 individual parts to make a Mars
up with fuel is a lengthy business, too. Mars Express uses two different
types of fuel in tanks of 270 litres each.
you took all the wire used to string together the electrical components
on Mars Express and laid them end-to-end, they would stretch 5 kilometres.
needs 2,200 bolts to connect all the mechanical components together.
it or not, 25 kilograms of glue is on-board Mars Express. No, it's not
for Beagle 2 to do some nice collages during those long Martian evenings.
Glue is used to hold together those parts where screws cannot reach.
there are no astronauts on-board Mars Express, the spacecraft's cryo-radiators
work hard to keep the interior pleasantly warm, even when exterior temperatures
plunge below -200 C.
- Its creature
comforts don't stop there. Mars Express also has a microwave oven on-board. Well, not quite, but its communication system does transfer
data using microwaves similar to those used to heat up yesterday's lasagne.
- The entourage
surrounding Mars Express everytime it goes on tour on Earth is even
bigger than Britney Spears' crew. Just to travel down the road, the
spacecraft requires one tonne of electrical test equipment and two tonnes
of mechanical test equipment, along with some 20 people to operate it.
And a bowl of fresh fruit, of course!