Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Going to Mars for Christmas

13.11.2003


Mars Express is the first flexible mission in the revised ESA long-term scientific programme which was launched towards Mars in June 2003 with a Soyuz/Fregat launcher.
Credits: ESA-D. Ducros


Europe’s mission to the Red Planet, Mars Express, is on schedule to arrive at the planet on Christmas Day, 2003.

The lander, Beagle 2, is due to descend through the Martian atmosphere and touch down also on 25 December.
Mars Express is now within 20 million kilometres of the Red Planet and the next mission milestone comes on 19 December, when Mars Express will release Beagle 2. The orbiter spacecraft will send Beagle 2 spinning towards the planet on a precise trajectory.


Into orbit

Beagle has no propulsion system of its own, so it relies on correct aiming by the orbiter to find its way to the planned landing site, a flat basin in the low northern latitudes of Mars.

ESA engineers will then fire the orbiter’s main engine in the early hours of 25 December to put Mars Express into orbit around Mars (called Mars Orbit Insertion, or MOI).

Landing

When Beagle 2 begins its descent, it will be slowed by friction with the Martian atmosphere. Nearer to the surface, parachutes will deploy and large gas-filled bags will inflate to cushion the final touchdown. Beagle 2 should bounce to a halt on Martian soil early on Christmas morning.

The first day on Mars is important for the lander because it has only a few hours to collect enough sunlight with its solar panels to recharge its battery.

Waiting for signal

We then have to wait for the radio ’life’ signal from Beagle 2, relayed through the US Mars Odyssey spacecraft, to see if the probe has survived the landing. This could take hours or even days.

If nothing is received on Christmas morning, the UK Jodrell Bank Telescope will search for the faint radio signal from Beagle 2 in the evening. The Mars Express orbiter can also search for the lander but, because of its orbit, it will not be in place to do this until early January.

If all goes well, Mars Express and Beagle 2 will then begin their main mission - trying to answer the questions of whether there has been water, and possibly life, on Mars.

Irina Bruckner | ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMT92XLDMD_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>