The ASPERA-3 device (Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms) was created to study the interaction between the solar wind and the Martian atmosphere. ASPERA-3 will be traveling on the Mars Express due to launch in June of 2003.
Where did the Martian water go?
Is it lost or simply frozen?
If it’s lost, what enabled it to escape the planet?
If it’s frozen, where is the tremendous amount of water stored?
These are the questions that the ASPERA-3 experiment is helping to answer. No instrument with similar scientific objectives has flown or is scheduled to be flown to Mars.
Since liquid water is the fundamental requirement for life, a clear understanding of the fate of the Martian water supply is crucial in resolving the mystery of whether life ever existed on Mars.