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.

Related Articles


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 December 20, 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 December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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