Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Congratulations to NASA. Beagle 2 Team Still Hopes To Repeat Mars Landing Success

05.01.2004


At a press briefing in London today, Professor Colin Pillinger (Open University), Beagle lead scientist, and Dr Mark Sims (University of Leicester), the mission manager, congratulated their colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the successful landing of the Spirit rover on Mars.



“I’d like to give congratulations to NASA and the Spirit team for getting the lander down safely,” said Professor Pillinger. “We wish them every luck.”

Adding his congratulations, Mark Sims said, “I’d like to reiterate the international cooperation we’ve been getting in terms of looking for Beagle. In particular, the JPL team which has been working very strange hours supporting the Odyssey passes, Lockheed Martin, who’ve been running the Odyssey spacecraft, Jodrell Bank, Westerborg, the British Astronomical Association and Malin Space Science Systems. Mike Malin is looking at imaging the landing site potentially from tomorrow.“


Meanwhile, the search for Beagle 2 goes on.

“We haven’t in any shape or form given up on Beagle 2,” said Professor Pillinger.

“We have realised that Mars Express is not in the orbit we originally expected, so our communication strategy is now different from the one that we explained at the beginning of last week.”

Describing the ongoing work at the Lander Operations Control Centre, Mark Sims explained that teams from the University of Leicester, SciSys and Astrium are continuing their efforts to identify possible failure modes that can be addressed.

“We’re still concentrating on both the communications and timing/software issues, and working our way through the logic and fault tree on the basis that Beagle 2 is on the surface of Mars and for some reason is failing to talk to us,” said Dr. Sims.

“There are six or seven scenarios that we’re still working through and we still can’t eliminate any of those.”

However, possible failure scenarios involving a reset of the clock hardware and a problem with a tilted antenna seem to have been ruled out. Today’s successful transmission of signals from the Spirit rover via Mars Odyssey also indicates that the radio on board NASA’s orbiter is working properly.

Meanwhile, an attempt to send blind commands to Beagle 2 via Mars Odyssey on 31 December also resulted in no obvious response from the lander.

There has also been no response from the Beagle 2 transceiver during 11 programmed passes. Unfortunately, the last four contact opportunities pre-programmed into Beagle 2’s computer no longer coincide with Mars Express on its current orbit, so the team is now relying on the spacecraft switching to various back-up communication modes.

The mission team is now waiting for their little lander to switch to one of its backup communication modes. Beagle 2 could already be operating in ’communication search mode 1’, during which it listens for 80 minutes during both the Martian day and night in an effort to establish contact with an available orbiter at Mars Odyssey overflight times.
If no link is established by this method, ‘communication search mode 2’ should eventually be activated. The earliest date by which this mode could become operational was 3 January.

In this mode, the receiver is on for 59 minutes out of every hour throughout the Martian day, and the spacecraft sends a carrier signal five times in each daylight hour. During the Martian night, Beagle 2’s receiver will be on for one minute out of every five, but there is no carrier signal.

Although Mars Odyssey will continue to search for the lander, Mars Express will soon become the prime communication link with Beagle 2. After reaching its operational polar orbit today, ESA’s orbiter should pass over the Beagle 2 landing site regularly from 7 January onwards. Various modes of communication can be attempted during passes by Mars Express, although the team anticipates starting on 7 and 8 January with the standard ‘hail and command’ which has been used with Mars Odyssey.

The first four passes with Mars Express (7, 8, 9 and 10 January) are almost directly over the landing site and only 5 to 8 minutes long, so they are not ideal for communication, whereas the opportunities on 12 and 14 January are potentially much longer.

Peter Barratt | alfa

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht The taming of the light screw
22.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Magnetic micro-boats
21.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

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: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>