Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Interplanetary networking: ESA’s Mars Express will keep an eye on NASA’s Phoenix

02.08.2007
ESA’s Mars Express will keep an eye on NASA’s Phoenix lander as it makes its way to the Martian surface, setting an example for international cooperation and interplanetary networking.

Phoenix’s launch is scheduled for 4 August this year and it is expected to land on the Red Planet in the spring of 2008. The mission will investigate the Martian environment and will look beneath the frigid, arctic landscape in search of conditions favourable to past or present life. At NASA’s request, ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft will be following Phoenix’s Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) phase.

The critical part of the descent lasts about 13 minutes. During this time, the probe will transmit a continuous stream of information to two of NASA’s satellites already orbiting the Red Planet. To be on the safe side, NASA has requested Mars Express, which has been in orbit around Mars since December 2003, to also monitor the EDL phase.

Mars Express has been selected since, in principle, its elliptical orbit makes it possible for the spacecraft to have a continuous view of the lander and to communicate with it for longer periods of time.

Mars Express will optimise its orbit so that Phoenix is continuously in view during the EDL phase. The final orbit adjustment required for Mars Express will be determined a few weeks after the launch of Phoenix. Final adjustments will be made in April next year, just before the Phoenix EDL phase.

ESA’s Mars Express Mission Manager, Fred Jansen explains, “One of the instruments on board Mars Express is the Mars Express Lander Communications system (MELACOM), designed to communicate with probes on the planet’s surface. Originally meant for communicating with the Beagle 2 lander, which was unfortunately lost, we can now use it to communicate with Phoenix.”

It is possible that the spacecraft will communicate with the lander, not only during EDL, but also for the remainder of the anticipated 90-day lifetime of the mission.

“NASA still has two other active probes on the Martian surface. When Phoenix joins the fleet around mid-2008, lots of data will have to be relayed back to Earth from the surface of Mars. If we are asked to help out by channelling part of the communication through Mars Express, we will, of course, try to accomodate such a request" adds Jansen.

Apart from assistance during the EDL phase, NASA has also requested ESA to support the launch of Phoenix from its ground station in Kourou, French Guiana.

Michel Denis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMWNCWUP4F_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>