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    ESA, RUSSIAN RESEARCHERS HOLDING MARTIAN STUDUES

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 23. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- In many experiments held on the Martian orbit with the use of the European interplanetary station Mars Express, Russian researchers take part.

    "As follows from the reports of the Mission Control Centre in Darmstadt, the main goal of the mission - discovering traces of crystalline ice on Mars - has been met and we are ready to share the success with Russian researchers", Alain Fournier-Sikr, official spokesman for the European Space Agency in Russia, has told RIA Novosti on Friday. ESA official spokesman Vittorio Formisano reported a sensational news in Darmstadt that the Mars Express probe has discovered ice on the South pole of Mars.

    Mars Express reached Mars on December 3, 2003.

    The discovery gives hope for the presence of life on Mars, specialists say.

    Launched from the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome /Russia leases it from Kazakhstan/ on June 2, 2003, the research spacecraft is staying on the Martian orbit. The Mars Express was orbited by a Russian Soyuz carrier rocket in tandem with the Fregat acceleration unit, a spokesman for the Rosaviakosmos recalled.

    Many units aboard Mars Express, such as the Omega scanner and the Spikam spectrometer, are of Russia made, Rosaviakosmos told RIA Novosti.

    Omega helps in studying the mineral composition of the Martian surface and searching for sedimentary rock, as well as fixing the depth of permafrost occurrence at different latitudes. With the help of the Marsis long-wave radar researchers will fix the thickness of the polar caps, study the composition and structure of the Martian atmosphere.

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