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Ongoing Preparations for Mars Swing-by

Desktop available 1024x768 Credits: ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA.
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (ESA) Jan 30, 2007
This view of Mars (visible towards the top of the image) and of the Milky Way was taken by the OSRIS camera on board the Rosetta orbiter on 3 December 2006, during the last series of instrument check-outs. In this image Mars is heavily overexposed and therefore surrounded by a halo of scattered light. OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) will continue to image Mars during the next major mission phase: the swing-by of planet Mars at the end of February 2007.

Rosetta will use its imaging system and imaging spectrometers to gather data about the surface and atmosphere of the Red Planet, including its chemical composition.

It will also collect data about the interaction of the atmosphere with the solar wind and about the Martian radiation environment. It will also image the two natural satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.

Rosetta Report for Period 13 January to 26 January 2007

The reporting period covers a period of 2 weeks with minor preparatory activities for the Mars swing-by phase.

During the reporting period the following activities have been conducted:

- MIRO patched software (SW) test - Lander EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) updated for Mars swing-by observations - SSMM corrupted block recovery actions - OSIRIS SW corrective actions

All activities have been conducted according to the plan without any major problem. The navigation campaign for the Mars swing-by is proceeding according to the plan with radiometric data acquired by ESA (NNO: New Norcia) and DSN stations.

At the end of the reporting period (DOY 026) Rosetta was at 316.3 million km from Earth (2.11 AU; one-way signal travel time was 17 minutes 35 seconds). The distance to the Sun was 198.2 million km (1.32 AU).

Spacecraft: Payload - The reporting period included the following activities:

- DoY 018 - MIRO Patched SW test

This test has been conducted in order to validate some SW patches to be applied at switch ON required to fix known problems. The patches were successfully tested, however, a foreseen reset event requires a modification of the test sequenced used and a full re-test will be conducted later.

- DoY 024 - Lander EEPROM updates for the Mars swing-by the Lander has been activated at 20:30 and some updates to the EEPROM tables have been performed in view of the observations to be done during the Mars swing-by.

- DoY 025 - OSIRIS SW patch

This activity has been scheduled to apply a small SW patch to the SW of the instrument.

Future Milestones: The Mars swing-by phase formally started on 28 July 2006. The actual swing-by will take place on 25 February 2007, followed by a Deep Space Manoeuvre in April 2007. Preparation activities for the Mars swing-by will continue in the coming weeks with the following plan:

- DoY 031 Configuration of the IMP (Inertial Measurement Package, consisting of 3 gyros and 3 accelerometers to measure the spacecraft's attitude)

- DoY 039 Trajectory correction manoeuvre

- DoY 046 Spacecraft pre-configuration for Mars swing-by

The navigation campaign will continue its most dense phase with several tracking passes per week and DDOR measurements, both with ESA and DSN stations.

The ground segment has started the formal validation campaign for the Mars swing-by scenario with the first simulation, 4 additional ones are foreseen in the next weeks.

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Satellite View of MER-B Journey Around Victoria Crater
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jan 29, 2007
Three years after embarking on a historic exploration of the red planet and six miles away from its landing site, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is traversing "Victoria Crater" ridge by ridge, peering at layered cliffs in the interior. To identify various alcoves and cliffs along the way, science team members are using names of places visited by the 16th-century Earth explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew aboard the ship Victoria, who proved the Earth is round. (All names are unofficial unless approved by the International Astronomical Union.)

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