Tag Archives: ESA

Trace Gas Orbiter: Aerobraking down, down

Spacecraft Operations Engineer Armelle Hubault, working on the ExoMars TGO flight control team, reports: This graphic (above) gives a very concise visualisation of the fantastic progress we’ve made with aerobraking to date. It was coded by my ExoMars TGO colleague … Continue reading

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HRSC: Crater named for Gerhard Neukum, Mars Express founder

A fascinating martian crater has been chosen to honour the German physicist and planetary scientist, Gerhard Neukum, one of the founders of ESA’s Mars Express mission. The International Astronomical Union named the 102 km-wide crater in the Noachis Terra region … Continue reading

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HRSC: Mars upside down

Which way is up in space? Planets are usually shown with the north pole at the top and the south pole at the bottom. In this remarkable image taken by ESA’s Mars Express, the Red Planet is seen with north … Continue reading

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Mars atmosphere well protected from solar wind

Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet. New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 … Continue reading

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Keeping up with ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

On Friday, 17 November, the flight controllers at ESOC began operations to bring the spacecraft into a new phase of the on-going aerobraking campaign, marking the start of ‘shorter’ orbits. ‘Short’ is considered, somewhat arbitrarily, as when the orbital period … Continue reading

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Trace Gas Orbiter: Crossing Phobos’ orbit while aerobraking

[Editor’s note: See update.] Here are the facts about the Phobos orbit crossing today [November 16]. The orbit crossing is not a Phobos flyby. In fact, we did our best to ensure that Phobos would be at the farthest possible … Continue reading

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HRSC: Fracture swarms on Mars

These striking features on Mars were caused by the planet’s crust stretching apart in response to ancient volcanic activity. The fractures in the Sirenum Fossae region in the southern hemisphere were imaged by ESA’s Mars Express in March. They extend … Continue reading

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ExoMars aerobraking becomes too severe; shifts automatically to higher orbit

ExoMars has successfully performed a Flux Reduction Manoeuvre (FRM) for the first time. The manoeuvre was triggered by the excessive density of Mars’ atmosphere, which had slowed the spacecraft above the limit the operations team normally allows. The manoeuvre happened … Continue reading

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Mars Express webcam surveys high-altitude clouds

An unprecedented catalogue of more than 21,000 images taken by a webcam on ESA’s Mars Express is proving its worth as a science instrument, providing a global survey of unusual high-altitude cloud features on the Red Planet. The low-resolution camera … Continue reading

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Trace Gas Orbiter: Clouds over lava flows

Diffuse, water-ice clouds, a hazy sky and a light breeze. Such might have read a weather forecast for the Tharsis volcanic region on Mars on 22 November 2016, when this image was taken by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Clouds, … Continue reading

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