The event marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Mars Express orbiter, a mission to take 3D images of the planet’s surface in order to monitor it in great detail.
These images were updated approximately every 50 seconds, and were transmitted directly from the Mars rover’s visible observation camera.
” It is an ancient camera, which was originally planned for technical purposes, at a distance of nearly three million kilometers from Earth. »
Usually, when we see pictures of Mars, they were taken a few days ago.James Godfrey said.
” I can’t wait to see Mars as it is today – as close to “Mars Now” as possible. »
Most observations and data collected by spacecraft take place during periods when they are not in direct contact with an earth station antenna. Thus, these images are stored until they can be transmitted to Earth.
Depending on where Mars and Earth are in their orbit around the Sun, messages traveling through space can take anywhere from 3 to 22 minutes.
The European Mars Express probe was launched on June 2, 2003 for two years and initially consisted of an orbiter carrying seven remote sensing and monitoring instruments, and a lander called Beagle 2.
Mars Express sent its first signal from its orbit around the planet on December 25, 2003. Then attempts to communicate with Beagle 2, which was also scheduled to land on Mars on Christmas Day 2003, were unsuccessful. The Beagle 2 mission was declared lost on February 6, 2004.
As for the orbiter, it began its science observations as planned in January 2004. It was studying the Martian atmosphere and the planet’s structure and geology.
The data transmitted by the Omega infrared spectrometer made it possible to establish the presence of minerals formed only after prolonged exposure of volcanic rocks to water.
The Marsis radar sensor has detected water in the form of glacial deposits underground.
Its high-resolution stereo camera has mapped nearly 90% of the planet’s surface.
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