Author Topic: ESA - Mars Express updates  (Read 82032 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #20 on: 11/01/2007 09:52 PM »
NEWS RELEASE: 2007-126                                                                          Nov. 1, 2007


Mars Express Probes Red Planet's Unusual Deposits

The radar system on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter has uncovered new details about some of the most mysterious deposits on Mars: the Medusae Fossae Formation.  It has provided the first direct measurement of the depth and electrical properties of these materials, providing new clues about their origin.

The Medusae Fossae Formation consists of enigmatic deposits. Found near the Martian equator along a divide between highlands and lowlands, they may represent some of the youngest deposits on the surface of the planet.  This is implied because there is a marked lack of impact craters dotting these deposits.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages NASA's roles in the Mars Express mission.  Mars Express has been collecting data on the Medusae Fossae Formation deposits using its Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (Marsis).  Between March 2006 and April 2007, Mars Express flew over the Medusae Fossae Formation deposits many times, taking radar soundings as it went.

"This is the first direct measurement of the depth of these deposits," said Thomas Watters of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., lead author of a new report on the findings in the journal Science. "We didn't know whether they were just a thin veneer or much thicker."  The radar observations found the Medusae Fossae Formation to be massive deposits more than 2.5 kilometers (1.4 miles) thick in places. The instrument reveals the depth based on the time it takes for the radar beam to pass through the layers and bounce off the plains material underneath.

The Medusae Fossae deposits intrigue scientists because they are associated with regions that absorb certain wavelengths of Earth-based radar.  This had led to them being called "stealth" regions, because they give no radar echo.  However, the radar instrument on Mars Express uses longer wavelengths than Earth-based radar experiments. At these wavelengths, the radar waves mostly pass through the deposits, creating subsurface echoes when the radar signal reflects off the plains material beneath.

A variety of scenarios has been proposed for the origin and composition of these deposits.  Firstly, they could be volcanic ash deposits from now-buried vents or nearby volcanoes.  Secondly, they could be deposits of wind-blown materials eroded from Martian rocks.  Thirdly, they could be ice-rich deposits, somewhat similar to the layered ice deposits at the poles of the planet, but formed when the spin axis of Mars tilts over, making the equatorial region colder.

Deciding among these scenarios is not easy, even with the new data. The Marsis data reveal the electrical properties of the layers.  These suggest that the layers could be poorly packed, fluffy, dusty material. However it is difficult to understand how porous material from wind-blown dust can be more than two kilometers (more than a mile) thick and yet not be compacted under the weight of the overlying material.

On the other hand, although the electrical properties are consistent with water-ice layers, there is no other strong evidence for the presence of ice today in the equatorial regions of Mars.  "If there is water ice at the equator of Mars, it must be buried at least several meters below the surface," said co-author Jeffrey Plaut of JPL.  This is because the water vapor pressure on Mars is so low that any ice near the surface would quickly evaporate.

So, the mystery of Mars's Medusae Fossae Formation continues.  "It is still early in the game.  We may get cleverer with our analysis and interpretation, or we may only know when we go there with a drill and see for ourselves," Plaut said.

Giovanni Picardi at the University of Rome "La Sapienza," Italy, principal investigator of the radar experiment, said "Not only is Marsis providing excellent scientific results, but the team is also working on the processing techniques that will allow for more accurate evaluation of the characteristics of the subsurface layers and their constituent material. Hence, the possible extension of the mission will be very important to increase the number of observations over the regions of interest and improve the accuracy of the evaluations."

The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding was funded by NASA and the Italian Space Agency and developed by the University of Rome in partnership with JPL. Italy provided the instrument's digital processing system and integrated the parts. The University of Iowa, Iowa City, built the transmitter for the instrument, JPL built the receiver, and Astro Aerospace, Carpinteria, Calif., built the antenna. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


For additional information about Mars Express, see http://sci.esa.int/marsexpress . For additional information about NASA's Mars exploration, see http://www.nasa.gov/mars .

 

-end-


Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #21 on: 11/02/2007 11:23 AM »
The radar system on ESA's Mars Express has uncovered new details about some of the most mysterious deposits on Mars: The Medusae Fossae Formation. It has given the first direct measurement of the depth and electrical properties of these materials, providing new clues about their origin.

Full story:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEM0J2FWB8F_0.html

Offline meiza

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #22 on: 11/02/2007 01:58 PM »
Ah so what they mean to say is that it's a 2 km thick hill of different material sitting on the plains on Mars and it's true composition as well as formation is unknown, but it's different from the surroundings. Deposit is a much too general word to describe it.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #23 on: 11/24/2007 08:58 AM »
On 25 December 2003, Europe's first Mars explorer arrived at the Red Planet. Almost four years later, Mars Express continues to rewrite the text books as its instruments send back a stream of images and other data. Today, the spacecraft reached another milestone in its remarkable career by completing 5000 orbits of Mars.

Full story:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM3OQ63R8F_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #24 on: 02/05/2008 06:12 PM »
ESA presents Mars in 3D

Mars is about to come into 3D focus as never before, thanks to the data from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). A new high-resolution Digital Terrain Model data set that is about to be released onto the Internet, will allow researchers to obtain new information about the Red Planet in 3D.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM8Q2PR4CF_index_0.html


Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #25 on: 02/08/2008 08:30 PM »
Is there life on Mars? ESA's Mars Express satellite, launched in 2003, has been scanning and mapping the surface of our rocky neighbour, and it has found that there are both substantial deposits of water ice below the Martian crust and traces of methane in the Martian atmosphere. The next step is ExoMars, due for launch in 2013, which will place a lander on the surface of the red planet with the express aim of searching for past or present signs of life. EuroNews talked to the scientists at the cutting edge of this research.


More at:

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMAXUPR4CF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #26 on: 02/15/2008 03:11 PM »
Deep valleys of Candor Chasma
 
15 February 2008
Mars Express took snapshots of Candor Chasma, a valley in the northern part of Valles Marineris, as it was in orbit above the region on 6 July 2006.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM8Q7VHJCF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #27 on: 03/05/2008 02:17 PM »
Mars and Venus are surprisingly similar

5 March 2008  
Using two ESA spacecraft, planetary scientists are watching the atmospheres of Mars and Venus being stripped away into space. The simultaneous observations by Mars Express and Venus Express give scientists the data they need to investigate the evolution of the two planets' atmospheres.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMGQGK26DF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #28 on: 03/14/2008 04:42 PM »
Mars Express reveals the Red Planet's volcanic past

14 March 2008
A new analysis of impact cratering data from Mars reveals that the planet has undergone a series of global volcanic upheavals. These violent episodes spewed lava and water onto the surface, sculpting the landscape that ESA's Mars Express looks down on today.

http://asimov.esrin.esa.int/esaCP/SEMCPLM5NDF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #29 on: 04/17/2008 04:25 PM »
ESA’s Mars Express radar sounder, MARSIS, has looked beneath the martian surface and opened up the third dimension for planetary exploration. The technique’s success is prompting scientists to think of all the other places in the Solar System where they would like to use radar sounders.


Read more at:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMIF74XQEF_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #30 on: 04/29/2008 03:11 PM »
Artificial intelligence boosts science from Mars

29 April 2008

Artificial intelligence (AI) being used at the European Space Operations Centre is giving a powerful boost to ESA's Mars Express as it searches for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM1RL2QGFF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #31 on: 05/16/2008 03:09 PM »
The High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the ESA spacecraft Mars Express obtained images of a region at the end of Mamers Valles, a long, winding valley. The focus is on a circular depression that contains a crater.

Read more at:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMKPM0YUFF_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #32 on: 05/20/2008 03:08 PM »
Mars Express mission controllers ready for NASA Phoenix landing
 
20 May 2008
ESA's Mars Express mission control team are ready to monitor Phoenix's critical entry, descent and landing onto the Martian surface on 26 May 2008.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM8KD0YUFF_index_0.html

Offline Lawntonlookirs

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #33 on: 05/20/2008 03:33 PM »
Waiting for Sunday and hopefully some interesting pictures of the landing, or the approach.  15 minute 20 second delay for distance, but maybe some pictures.
Everyman is my superior in that I may learn from him.  Albert Einstein

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #34 on: 05/22/2008 03:06 PM »
Timeline: Mars Express support to Phoenix landing

22 May 2008
Beginning late on 25 May, Mars Express will execute a series of pre-programmed commands specially designed to support NASA's Phoenix lander. The ESA spacecraft will conduct a high-speed slew, enabling it to track Phoenix as it enters the martian atmosphere.

Read more at:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEM3ZB1YUFF_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #35 on: 07/14/2008 03:39 PM »
Echus Chasma
 
14 July 2008

The High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express has returned images of Echus Chasma, one of the largest water source regions on the Red Planet.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM4CATHKHF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #36 on: 07/16/2008 01:09 PM »
Mars Express to rendezvous with Martian moon
 
16 July 2008
Scientists and engineers are preparing ESA's Mars Express for a pair of close fly-bys of the Martian moon Phobos. Passing within 100 km of the surface, Mars Express will conduct some of the most detailed investigations of the moon to date.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMVGAWIPIF_index_0.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #37 on: 07/30/2008 05:17 PM »
Mars Express acquires sharpest images of martian moon Phobos

30 July 2008

Mars Express closed in on the intriguing martian moon Phobos at 6:49 CEST on 23 July, flying past at 3 km/s, only 93 km from the moon. The ESA spacecraft’s fly-bys of the moon have returned its most detailed full-disc images ever, also in 3-D, using the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM5H48N9JF_index_0.html

Offline Lawntonlookirs

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #38 on: 07/30/2008 05:59 PM »
That is a quite an orbit that mars express is taking to get the pictures.  It's remarkable how they can work out the mathematics and flight strategy to accomplish this.
Everyman is my superior in that I may learn from him.  Albert Einstein

Offline jacqmans

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Re: ESA - Mars Express updates
« Reply #39 on: 08/22/2008 03:31 PM »
'Mars Webcam' now online
22 August 2008

The Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) is mounted on Mars Express, ESA's deep-space probe now orbiting the Red Planet. It originally provided simple, low-tech images of Beagle lander separation, and is now back in action as the 'Mars Webcam'. It's not a scientific instrument, but it does provide fantastic views of Mars - including crescent views of the planet not obtainable from Earth.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/VMC/

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