Massive Mars Antenna to Undergo Delicate ‘Surgery’ Softpedia

Scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California, announce that work has begun on repairing an iconic antenna of the American space agency. Used for the past 40 years for keeping in touch, and keeping track with deep-space missions, including those on Mars, the famous equipment now needs to have some of its parts changed. The modifications are not done willingly, but wear is beginning to hinder the good operation of the instrument, which is something that officials would have none of.
The scientific payload is situated at the Goldstone, California-based NASA Deep Space Network. The Mars antenna is gigantic, featuring a 70-meter (230-foot) dish. It is used primarily for sending and receiving signals to and from orbiters, landers and weather stations on Mars, but it can contact other spacecrafts as well, if the need arises. Now, a small portion of its hydrostatic bearing assembly needs fixing, and the task is a lot more expensive and complex than it would appear at first glance. The assembly is absolutely crucial for the antenna’s ability to rotate horizontally.