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 Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab
15.08.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity
15.08.2018 | University of California - Riverside

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>