The data from the Mars Express Lander Communication system (MELACOM) that tracked Phoenix was received on Earth soon after the Phoenix landing.
As Mars Express flew over
This animation shows the signal of Phoenix’s descent, recorded by MELACOM.
The spike in the animation, between frequencies of 7 and 8 kiloHertz, shows the transmission from Phoenix itself.
The lander can be seen in the animation starting from about 342 s after the start time and disappears at about 1085 s. This shows Mars Express picking up on the Phoenix signal and tracking it while closing in on the lander; the closest Mars Express got to Phoenix was 1550 km.
As Mars Express flew away, the lander deployed its parachute, separated from it and landed, the signal from the lander was cut off.
The shift of the spike seen in the animation, is due to the so-called Doppler effect, which is very similar to what we hear when listening to the whistle of a passing train.
The signal was tracked successfully, even during the expected transmission blackout window of the descent, until the lander was out of Mars Express’s view. The transmission blackout window is caused because of ionisation around the probe, which builds up as the lander descends through the atmosphere and only very weak signals come through.
The rest of the recording, the start and the end, contains background noise generated by Mars Express itself.
Animation and audio file available at:
During the descent, all of the capabilities of Mars Express were focussed on tracking Phoenix with MELACOM. Unfortunately, the science observations carried out during the descent did not lead to the anticipated results.
Apart from these observations, the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) on board Mars Express has been collecting relevant data since 8 May this year in anticipation of the Phoenix landing. This includes information on the physical conditions of the Martian atmosphere (temperature, pressure and density) above the expected the landing site. This data was provided to NASA in support of their observations of the physical conditions in the atmosphere prior to landing.
Over the next few days, Mars Express will monitor Phoenix using MELACOM 15 more times; at least one of these will be used to demonstrate and confirm that the ESA spacecraft can be used as a data relay station for NASA, receiving data from the surface and transmitting test commands to the lander.
Detailed information about the descent and landing will be available once the data from all the fly-overs is processed and analysed over the next few weeks.
Michel Denis | alfa
What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino
16.07.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences