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The Mars Express Mission. General Information Mars Express represents the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first visit to another planet in the Solar System.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mars Express Mission. General Information Mars Express represents the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first visit to another planet in the Solar System."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mars Express Mission

2 General Information Mars Express represents the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first visit to another planet in the Solar System The satellite was launched June 2, 2003 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan Arrived on Mars December 25, 2003 Mission ends November 12, 2005 Spacecraft size is approximately 1.2 m by 1.8 m by 1.4 m and the solar panels extended are 12 m tip-to-tip, and MARSIS antenna is 40 m long

3 Mission Objectives Search for subsurface water and minerals from orbit Drop Beagle 2 Lander onto Mars’ surface Image the globe in 3D Build up an accurate picture of Mars' meteorology and climate Study the interaction between the atmosphere and outer space Provide relay communications services between present and future Landers and Earth

4 The Mars Express Spacecraft

5 Instruments Beagle 2 - (Geochemical Lander) ASPERA -(Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms ) HRSC - (High Resolution Stereo Color Camera) MaRS - (Radio Science Experiment) MARSIS - (Subsurface sounding radar) OMEGA - (Infrared mineralogical mapping spectrometer) SPICAM -(Ultraviolet and infrared atmospheric spectrometer) PFS -(Planetary Fourier Spectrometer)

6 Beagle 2 Lander The Mars Express dropped the small lander onto Mars’ surface December 25, 2003. The Beagle 2 lander’s mission was to study the geology and climate at its landing site and to search for evidence of life, extinct or extant, on Mars. It was equipped with several instruments such as: GAP (Gas Analysis Package) A pair of stereoscopic cameras A wide-angle camera PLUTO (Planetary Undersurface Tool) A robotic arm carrying a microscopic imaging camera, an X-ray detector, a Mössbauer Spectrometer, and a rock grinder and corer A suite of seven environmental sensors

7 Beagle 2 Landing site The landing site was Isidis Planitia, a large flat region that overlies the boundary between the ancient highlands and the northern plains The final landing position for Beagle 2 was estimated to look as the following however the landing was not successful.

8 ASPERA Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Neutral Atoms Designed to study the interaction between the solar wind and the Martian atmosphere Looks specifically at the escape of volatile gases, particularly water, from Mars‘ atmosphere The Neutral Particle Imager (NPI) is designed to generate instantaneous images of the whole planet that reflect the density of the plasma The Neutral Particle Detector (NPD) is capable of detecting individual hydrogen and oxygen atoms An Electron Spectrometer will measure electron fluxes in the energy range of a few to 20,000 eV The Ion Mass Analyzer will measure the flux and mass of ions coming from any direction.

9 HRSC High Resolution Stereo Color Camera Provide the first, simultaneously captured, stereo images from Mars Because of its geometry, it will be able to image the surface of Mars from many different angles simultaneously The camera will gradually build up a full-color, 3D image of the entire surface of Mars. They are super-resolution images embedded within the lower-resolution images

10 HRSC Images Valles Marineris Tithonium Chasma Walls of Candor ChasmaReull Vallis

11 MaRS Mars Radio Science Experiment Signals that are sent between the spacecraft and earth travel through Mars’ atmosphere just before it disappears or emerges from behind the planet Careful analysis of the changes in the frequency or phase of the radio waves resulting from their interaction with the atmosphere will reveal how the temperature, pressure, and density of the atmosphere change with height above Mars’ surface This will allows the determination of the structure of the planet's gravity field.

12 MARSIS Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding A radar instrument that is designed to search beneath Mars's surface for liquid water, ice, or permafrost layers Can also be used to measure the scattering properties of the surface at long wavelengths and to examine the electron density and temperature in the ionosphere The instrument broadcasts very long wavelength radio waves and observes the time of the reflections (ground- penetrating radar)

13 MARSIS antenna beam

14 OMEGA Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité An infrared mineralogical mapping spectrometer designed to examine the global distribution of minerals and chemicals on the surface of Mars Collects sunlight that has been absorbed and re-emitted by the surface of Mars as well as the thermal radiation given off from the surface Objectives: –Map surface materials, including silicate minerals, hydrated minerals, oxides and carbonates, organic frosts, and ices –Map the concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water in the atmosphere and how they change over time –Identify the aerosols and dust particles in the atmosphere and observe their time and space distributions –Monitor the transportation of dust across the surface H2OH2O CO 2 VisibleH2OH2O

15 SPICAM Ultraviolet and infrared atmospheric spectrometer The ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer is measuring ozone, while the infrared (IR) sensor is measuring water vapor It will determine the composition of the atmosphere from the wavelengths of sunlight that the present gases absorb. It will build up a map showing how the concentration of different gases varies over the entire planet. It will even be able to monitor the movement of some atmospheric components with the seasons. First to observe the UV nightglow on the night side of Mars. They are emissions of light in the upper atmosphere that are produced when nitrogen and oxygen atoms combine to produce molecules (recombination) and release energy in the process that forms a glow in the ultraviolet spectrum: N + O NO + UV photon

16 The upper image shows intensity of emission wavelength over time The lower image shows the signal intensity for all five SPICAM channels, with a sharp peak also noticeable at around 535 seconds Nightglow results SPICAM

17 SPICAM – Infrared Sensor Analysis of the data from these observations indicates some water is mixed in with carbon dioxide ice. (South Pole)

18 PFS PFS will measure the global atmospheric distribution of water vapor and other minor constituents with greater accuracy than previous missions. From PFS spectra we can learn what Mars’ soil is made of and the weather patterns on the surface; the distribution of trace gases and vertical temperature and pressure profiles across its thin atmosphere; the composition of its icy poles and the distribution of water ice across the planet; along with the precise size and mineralogical properties of the particles forming its dust clouds and storms They will also study the isotopic composition of the atmosphere Planetary Fourier Spectrometer

19 PFS Planetary Fourier Spectrometer Structure of the atmosphere

20 PFS results

21 Sources The Planetary Society: The European Space Agency: The Planetary Fourier Spectrometer: Nasa’s Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Sources

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