Europe Extends Missions to Mars, Venus and Earth

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Tuesday announced mission extensions for three spacecraft currently exploring Mars, Venus and the Earth’s magnet field.
The extensions will allow Europe’s current Mars Express and Venus Express probes to continue their missions at their respective planets through Dec. 31, while ESA’s Cluster spacecraft will continue to do the same at Earth.
The announcement marks the third extension for Mars Express, which launched toward the red planet in 2003 and ended its initial mission in October 2005. The boxy Mars Express is Europe’s first mission to Mars and carries seven instruments, including a ground-penetrating radar that has probed beneath the Martian surface to discover pockets of buried water-ice.