Express with Ferrari's F2002 and the
The symbol of Ferrari's extraordinary success, its red paint 'Rosso Corsa', has been given the green light to go into space, as it was declared officially 'space qualified' at a formal ceremony held today at INTESPACE in Toulouse, France. A specially constructed glass globe, known as FRED, containing the sample of paint was then integrated on to the Mars Express spacecraft, in readiness for the fastest journey Ferrari has ever made.
The sample of red paint is due to begin its trip to the Red Planet on-board the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft in May-June 2003. In order to receive its 'space qualified' certificate, the red paint had to undergo a series of rigorous mechanical and thermal tests to ensure that it can withstand the extreme conditions it will encounter in space.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of ESA, Antonio Rodotà, said: "Mars Express will be the first European mission to the Red Planet, which has always intrigued people here on Earth. The information returned by the spacecraft and its lander, Beagle 2, will undoubtedly help us answer some of the questions that remain unanswered about this fascinating planet and its make-up. It will ultimately be looking for water, but it could also find evidence of life."
David Southwood, Director of Science, said: "I am thrilled that Europe has been able to honour the success of the Scuderia Ferrari through this momentous union. This ceremony represents an important symbolic step forward on the road to an equally successful launch of Mars Express next summer."
Mars Express is the European Space Agency's first mission to explore the Red Planet. It consists of an orbiter, housing seven instruments for observing the surface, and a lander - Beagle 2 - that will investigate Martian rock and soil. It is due for launch in May-June 2003 from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.
The European Space Agency is made up of 15 member states. Its missions are funded by a unique collaborative system enabling space science research to be carried out on a scale that would be impossible for individual states.
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For further information, visit: http://redencounter.esa.int/
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