Green light for the deployment of the second MARSIS boom

Jun 08, 2005
Green light for the deployment of the second MARSIS boom

Following in-depth analyses performed after the deployment of the first MARSIS antenna boom on board Mars Express, ESA has decided to proceed with the deployment of the second 20-metre antenna boom.

Image: The 2nd antenna of the Mars Express radar MARSIS (indicated by the red arrow) is due to be deployed in mid-June 2005. The Mars Express Sub-Surface Sounding Radar Altimeter (MARSIS) experiment is to map the Martian sub-surface structure to a depth of a few kilometres. The instrument's 40-metre long antenna booms will send low frequency radio waves towards the planet, which will be reflected from any surface they encounter.

The full operation will be performed during a time frame starting 13 June and nominally ending on 21 June.

A delay in the execution of the second boom deployment was necessary, due to problems encountered with the first deployment in early May this year. During the deployment, one of the antenna hinges (the tenth) got stuck in an unlocked position. Analysis of data obtained from earlier ground testing suggested a potential solution.

The Mars Express spacecraft control team at ESA’s Spacecraft Operations Centre (ESOC) succeeded in unblocking the hinge by exposing the cold side of the boom to the Sun. This warmed the hinges and the boom quickly became unstuck. In the end, the first boom deployment was completed on 10 May.

The lessons learnt during the first boom deployment were used to run new simulations and determine a new deployment scenario for the second boom. This scenario contains an additional sun-heating phase, to get the best possible thermal conditions for all hinges.

The deployment of the third (7-metre) third MARSIS boom is not considered critical. It will be commanded only once the ESA ground control team have re-acquired signal from the spacecraft, and made sure with a sequence of tests that the second boom is correctly locked into position and the spacecraft is well under control.

After this event MARSIS, the Mars Express Sub-Surface Radar Altimeter, will enter into a commissioning phase for the next few weeks, before starting to look at Mars’s ionosphere during martian daylight, and to probe down below the Martian surface during the martian night.

Source: ESA

Explore further: Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smooth deployment for second MARSIS antenna boom

Jun 17, 2005

The second 20-metre antenna boom of the MARSIS instrument on board Mars Express was successfully – and smoothly – deployed, confirmed today by the ground team at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre. The com ...

Deployment of second MARSIS boom delayed

May 09, 2005

The deployment of the second antenna boom of the Mars Express Sub-Surface Sounding Radar Altimeter (MARSIS) science experiment has been delayed pending investigation of an anomaly found during deployment of ...

Mars Express radar collects first surface data

Aug 05, 2005

MARSIS, the sounding radar on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, is collecting the first data about the surface and the ionosphere of Mars. The radar started its science operations on 4 July 2005, after the ...

Mars Express radar ready to work

Jun 22, 2005

MARSIS, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding on board ESA’s Mars Express orbiter, is now fully deployed, has undergone its first check-out and is ready to start operations ...

MARSIS set to reveal more from Mars

Apr 29, 2005

UK scientists stand poised as the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft will start to deploy its MARSIS ground penetrating radar next week (2nd May 2005). Once successfully deployed the radar will ...

Green light for deployment of ESA's Mars Express radar

Feb 08, 2005

The European Space Agency has given the green light for the MARSIS radar on board its Mars Express spacecraft to be deployed during the first week of May. Assuming that this operation is successful, the radar will finally ...

Recommended for you

Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

1 hour ago

The human body is fine-tuned to Earth's gravity. A team headed by Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy is now conducting an experiment on the International Space Station ...

Easter morning delivery for space station

7 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Apr 19, 2014

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

Apr 18, 2014

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.