Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars Odyssey Satellite Provides Link For Rover In 2003

Date:
October 25, 2001
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
A collective sigh of relief could be heard around the corridors of Cornell University's Space Sciences Building late Tuesday night when the Mars Odyssey spacecraft went into orbit around Mars. The main reason for the jubilation: The small robotic spacecraft will be the key communications link for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission in 2003.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A collective sigh of relief could be heard around the corridors of Cornell University's Space Sciences Building late Tuesday night when the Mars Odyssey spacecraft went into orbit around Mars. The main reason for the jubilation: The small robotic spacecraft will be the key communications link for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission in 2003.

"Everything went perfectly, and this is fabulous news for the Rover program," says Cornell Professor of Astronomy Steven W. Squyres, who has a leading role in both NASA's Odyssey and Rover missions. He is a member of the science team for the gamma ray spectrometer (GRS), one of three instruments carried by the Odyssey. And he is principal investigator, or leader, of the larger international team that is developing the Athena science package to be carried by the two Rover vehicles during their planned exploration of the red planet in 2004.

If the $300 million Odyssey mission had failed, the Rover program could have been seriously hampered, perhaps even jeopardized. That is because the two exploration vehicles would have had only the aging Global Surveyor spacecraft, which went into Mars orbit in September 1997, to provide communications with Earth. Now the two Rovers will be able to upload data -- in such areas as the mineral and element composition of rocks and soils -- to a state-of-the art communications package. The Odyssey relay antenna will then transmit the data to Cornell's Space Sciences Building.

Squyres has been associated with the gamma ray spectrometer instrument package on board Odyssey since 1986, well before the Mars Rover program was planned. However, the original landing of a single Rover was planned for this year, to coincide with the Odyssey mission, but was canceled by NASA. The $700 million MER mission was announced by the space agency in August last year, with launches planned for May and June, 2003, and landings on the planet for Jan. 4 and 5, 2004. Although the Odyssey's GRS will play an important role in determining the elements that make up the Martian surface, measuring the abundance and distribution of about 20 primary elements, Squyres does not expect the instrument to play a role in picking the landing sites for the two Rovers. However, another Odyssey instrument, THEMIS (thermal emission imaging system), is expected to provide data on minerals in soils and rocks that will aid understanding of the four potential landing sites chosen for the ! Ro! vers at a recent meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. The sites were chosen on the basis of images from Global Surveyor and are areas where there is the best evidence possible that water was once present on the surface. Squyres describes the four sites as "fabulous," and says that the two final sites will be selected within six months.

The planning for the two Rovers, each a 300-pound mobile laboratory, is intense. Says Squyres, "The payload is going well. The schedule, overall, is tight. But we are going to make it."

A critical interpretation of the Odyssey GRS data also will be carried out at Cornell by graduate student Amena Siddiqi who is writing her doctoral thesis on the likely sources of ice on Mars. It is known that ice exists in the Martian polar regions, but it is not known if there is ice beneath the soil in other latitudes. The GRS can actually see through the planet's soil to deposits of ice below. Siddiqi, a British citizen who is a native of Pakistan, will use Odyssey data to develop maps that could show where the ice deposits exist.

The Odyssey GRS team leader is William Boynton of the University of Arizona. Both the Odyssey mission and the 2003 Rover projects are managed by JPL.

Related World Wide Web sites:

o Mars Odyssey: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/

o Athena: http://athena.cornell.edu/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Mars Odyssey Satellite Provides Link For Rover In 2003." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072209.htm>.
Cornell University. (2001, October 25). Mars Odyssey Satellite Provides Link For Rover In 2003. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072209.htm
Cornell University. "Mars Odyssey Satellite Provides Link For Rover In 2003." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025072209.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) — Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) — Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins