The ESA is preparing a double première for the year 2003. The Mars Express Mission will be the first ESA probe to explore another planet. At the same
time this represents the concept of a so called flexible mission which means that the planning and manufacturing durations will be significantly lowered and
the costs be decreased
by a considerable amount. With this new flexibility the ESA wants to open up its long planned budgets to be able to react on actual
scientific challenges. The Mars Express budget amounts to around 150 million Euro, which is about half of the expense of the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997.