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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — After more than two years, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover reached Mount Sharp, its long-term destination. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Elon Musk has been talking about his goal of colonizing Mars for years now, but how much of it does he actually have figured out, and is it possible? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
International Space Station Crew Returns Safely To Earth

International Space Station Crew Returns Safely To Earth

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — The three-man crew touched down in Kazakhstan Wednesday after more than five months of science experiments in orbit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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