Now more than ever, Mars is the focus of planetary research. A week after the resoundingly successful landing manoeuvre of NASA’s Phoenix probe, scientists and engineers are celebrating the five-year anniversary of the launch of Mars Express, the first ever European planetary mission. The mission has already been extended a second time. “Mars Express has shown that Europe can assume a very important role in researching our solar system”, says Professor Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) while commenting on the Mars probe’s success. “Thanks to the German stereo camera on board the Mars Express, we can now observe our neighbouring planet through more realistic 3-D images than ever before. The 3-D images have opened up ‘new perspectives’ in the true sense of the word, not just for Mars, but for planetary research overall”, says DLR chief Wörner.