by Brooks Hays
Darmstadt, Germany (UPI) Mar 18, 2016
The first half of the ExoMars mission began this week with the launch of the Trace Gas Orbiter from Kazakhstan.
In the hours following Monday's launch, the probe's trajectory offered asteroid hunters a chance to test their tracking and imaging technologies. The probe's exit from Earth's upper atmosphere and into space was like the approach of a near-Earth object in reverse.
The European Space Agency organized a concerted effort by Southern Hemisphere observatories to identify, track and image the spacecraft. ESA's Space Debris Office kept NEO-tracking observatories apprised of the probe's trajectory.
The information allowed astronomers Alison Tripp and Sarah Roberts to capture impressive images of the orbiter using a one meter-diameter telescope in Australia. Scientist Grant Christie at the Stardome Observatory in Auckland, New Zealand, also secured images of the departing spacecraft.
But the clearest images were captured by Brazilian astronomers Daniela Lazzaro and Sergio Silva. One of their photographs reveals the Trace Gas Orbiter surrounded by fragments of the Proton rocket's discarded upper stage.
The ExoMars probe is now well beyond near Earth, en route to its October rendezvous with Mars.
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|