Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Closing In On The Red Planet : Mars Express Orbit Lowered, Search Continues For Beagle 2 Lander

Date:
January 5, 2004
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft successfully executed an essential planned manoeuvre to reduce its orbit around the Red Planet.

January 4, 2003 -- Today at 14:13 CET, ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft successfully executed an essential planned manoeuvre to reduce its orbit around the Red Planet. A five minute burn of its main engine brought Mars Express from an orbit apocentre (highest point) of 190 000 km to 40 000 km with a pericentre (lowest point) of about 250 km. Mars Express will reach its final operational orbit of about 11 000 km apocentre and 300 km pericentre towards the end of the month after two more scheduled orbit adjustments (main engine burns) on the nights of 6 to 7 and 10 to 11 January.

Today’s key move enables ESA to pursue its Mars mission as planned. First, scheduled scientific observations can begin mid-January and, secondly, the search for the Beagle 2 landing module will become much more accurate.

Michael McKay, Mars Express Flight Operations Director in Darmstadt, Germany, explains: “From the second half of January 2004 onwards, the orbiter's instruments will be prepared to scan the atmosphere, the surface and parts of the subsurface structure of Mars with unprecedented precision. The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), for example, will take high-precision pictures of the planet and will begin a comprehensive 3D cartography of Mars. The MARSIS radar will be able to scan as far as four kilometres below the surface, looking for underground water or ice. Also, several spectrometers will try to unveil the mysteries of Martian mineralogy and the atmosphere, as well as influences from the solar wind or seasonal changes.”

Furthermore, on 7 January 2004 at 13:15 CET, the lowest point (pericentre) of the Mars Express flight path will be as close as 315 km to the landing area of the still silent Beagle 2. The American orbiter Mars Odyssey and several radio-telescopes on Earth have been unable to obtain a signal since Christmas, but chances will rise with the approach of the 'mothership' to its 'baby' Beagle 2. Mars Express and Beagle 2 are the only end-to-end tested systems, giving ESA more confidence of establishing a contact with the lander. Today, 4 January, ESA specialists are meeting with Beagle 2 staff at ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt to define a robust strategy for modes of interaction between the ESA orbiter and the lander. Mars Express has Ultra High Frequency (UHF) interfaces, ready to communicate with Beagle 2. In this context, Mars Express Project Manager Dr Rudolf Schmidt and his ESA colleagues are very much looking forward to 7 January 2004, 13:15 CET: “At this precise time, our Mars Express orbiter is in both an ideal flight path and an ideal communication configuration, right on top of the Beagle 2 landing area, at about 86 degrees. In this situation, we should be able to discern the slightest beep on the Martian surface.”

Today’s manoeuvre was another step to the European exploration of Mars, ensuring both orbiter operations as planned and a precise search of the Beagle 2 lander. ESA is looking forward to an exciting Mars exploration in the next months. The latest news will be posted, as always, at: at http://mars.esa.int


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Closing In On The Red Planet : Mars Express Orbit Lowered, Search Continues For Beagle 2 Lander." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040105070425.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2004, January 5). Closing In On The Red Planet : Mars Express Orbit Lowered, Search Continues For Beagle 2 Lander. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040105070425.htm
European Space Agency. "Closing In On The Red Planet : Mars Express Orbit Lowered, Search Continues For Beagle 2 Lander." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040105070425.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Earth's Near-Twin Found Orbiting Red Dwarf

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The newly-discovered planet is roughly the size of Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
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