[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]


Unfortunately many press releases misses an important point.

Mars Express is primarily an 'orbiter' mission with a wealth of
instruments which will probe the planet around the pericentre
of each elliptical orbit of the probe.
The Beagle lander, added later to the mission, will have a much
shorter mission than that of the orbiter.

It may be noteworthy the fact that Mars Express hosts instruments
which were lost during the Mars-96 Russian attempt. In addition to
them there is the Italian/US radar sounder, MARSIS, which is the
first planetary sounder radar launched since the experiment flown
on Apollo 17. Aim of MARSIS is that to probe below the surface
of Mars and try and discover deposits of water. This is one of
the primary scientific objectives of the entire mission.

Radioamateurs may be interested in knowing that MARSIS operates
around 4 MHz and, therefore, it sports two very wide antennas:
a 40 meters dipole (two 20m arms) and one 7 meters monopole. The
antennas will be deployed after Mars orbit has been reached successfully.

Please check the ESA Mars Express web page for more details on
this very exciting mission, now on its way in interplanetary transfer
orbit after a successful launch.


Fabrizio Bernardini, FBIS, I0QIT

On Wed, 4 Jun 2003, Arthur Z Rowe wrote:

> Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC
> Printed with previous permission of the Houston Chronicle
> 'Curse of Mars' casts shadow over new space mission
> Reuters News Service 
> BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan - A new Mars mission, touted as the most thorough
> investigation yet of the Red Planet, is due to blast off on Monday,
> battling against the bad luck that has dogged past missions to Earth's
> neighbour. 
> The $300 million euro Mars Express, the first fully European mission
> sent to any planet, will try to find out if there is, or ever was, life
> on Mars. 
> But the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission at Russia's Baikonur
> cosmodrome, on the arid steppes of the central Asian republic of
> Kazakhstan, can hardly forget that 20 of the 30 missions to Mars have
> been less than successful. 
> "Mars is bad luck for space and a real difficulty for us," ESA's science
> director David Southwood told Reuters. "If we were sailors, I think we
> would be very superstitious about going to Mars." 
> The Mars Express will carry Beagle 2, a space probe that looks like a
> collection of dustbin lids but which packs a broad array of complex
> scientific equipment that will burrow into Mars's surface, analysing
> rock, and hunting for water. 
> "Maybe there was life on Mars once in the past? We are going to seek
> evidence of past life...or indeed, even micro-organisms that are alive
> now," Southwood said. 
> After a six-month journey to Mars, the British-built Beagle 2, named
> after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage to the
> Galapagos islands, will parachute down from the orbiting Express. 
> Its fall will be broken by air balloons designed to let it bounce
> harmlessly to a halt. When it has landed, it will signal the happy news
> with a brief tune by British pop band Blur. 
> If all goes well, the Beagle should be able to relay information back to
> Earth through the orbiter for six months. 
> "In the worldwide effort to explore the Red Planet in recent years, the
> European Mars Express mission represents the most throrough
> investigation of Mars attempted so far," ESA said on its Web site. 
> Science fiction fans can take heart that one of the main aims of the
> mission will be to assess the chances of humans living on the planet. 
> "For me as a scientist, it's important that this is the first step to
> looking at the possible habitability of Mars," Southwood said, adding
> that the first manned mission to Mars could be sent in the next 20 or 25
> years. 
> The Mars Express will blast off atop a Russian Soyuz launcher around
> 1745 GMT on Monday. It is one of three missions taking off this month to
> exploit a period when Earth and Mars are closest together. 
> ----
> Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
> To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org

Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org