MarsNews.com
March 9th, 2015

Mars Express Webcam Available for Public Use in May for Images of the Red Planet ESA

In May, the ‘webcam’ on board Mars Express will be available for public imaging requests. We’re inviting schools, science clubs and youth groups to submit proposals for one of eight opportunities to image another planet.
ESA are inviting public proposals for a number of observation slots using the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) on board Mars Express.
VMC – the ‘Mars Webcam’ – is a simple, low-resolution device that was originally intended only to provide visual confirmation of Beagle lander separation. Since 2007, it has provided unique images of Mars, including crescent views of the planet not obtainable from Earth, which are routinely shared via a dedicated blog and Flickr. Online registration: Deadline 12:00 CET, 27 March

September 24th, 2014

Mars Robotic Spacecraft Population Reaches New High IEEE Spectrum

September has shaped up to be a very exciting month in the annals of Mars exploration. Two new spacecraft, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission and India’s first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), have now entered orbit around the Red Planet.
The new arrivals bring the population of active Mars missions to seven—a record high, confirms Bruce Betts of The Planetary Society, a space advocacy organization. On the ground now are Opportunity, which landed in 2004, and NASA’s Curiosity rover, which recently entered its third year of operation.
MAVEN and MOM join a complement of three orbiters: NASA’s 13-year-old Mars Odyssey spacecraft, the European Space Agency’s 11-year-old Mars Express spacecraft, and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which arrived in 2006.

August 15th, 2014

Mars Orbiters Duck for Cover Sky & Telescope

As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring hurtles toward Mars, NASA is taking steps to protect its Martian orbiters. The plan? Use the planet itself as a shield between the spacecraft and the comet’s potentially dangerous debris.
As part of its long-term Mars Exploration Program, NASA currently has two spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Odyssey, with Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) set to arrive in late September. Teams of scientists at the University of Maryland, the Planetary Science Institute, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) have used data from both Earth-based and space telescopes to model Siding Spring’s journey through the inner solar system, and determined that there is no risk of the comet colliding with Mars. However, at its closest approach to Mars on October 19, 2014, Siding Spring will come within 82,000 miles of the Red Planet, which is about a third of the distance from Earth to the Moon. The closest comets ever to whiz by Earth have been at least ten times more distant.

June 19th, 2014

Comet’s Brush With Mars Offers Opportunity, Not Danger University of Maryland

Comet Siding Spring will brush astonishingly close to Mars later this year – close enough to raise concerns about the safety of three spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. But after observing Siding Spring through a satellite-mounted telescope, University of Maryland comet experts found that it poses little danger to the Mars craft. The NASA spacecraft will be able to get an unprecedented close look at the changes happening to this “fresh” comet as it nears the sun – as well as any changes its passing may trigger in the Martian atmosphere.
Fresh comets like Siding Spring, which have never before approached the sun, contain some of the most ancient material scientists can study. The UMD astronomers’ observations are part of a two-year-long research campaign to watch how the comet’s activity changes during its travels.

March 6th, 2014

Big Mars Impact Gave Earth Most of Its Martian Meteorites Space.com

A huge meteorite impact on Mars five million years ago blasted toward Earth many of the rocks that scientists scrutinize to learn more about the Red Planet, a new study reveals.
The cosmic crash left a 34-mile-wide (55 kilometers) gouge on Mars called Mojave Crater and is the source of all “shergottite” or igneous rock Martian meteorites found on Earth, researchers say. Examining the crater and the meteorites also led to new revelations about how old the rocks are.

January 14th, 2014

Europe’s Mars Probe Celebrates 10 Years of Amazing Martian Views (Video) Space.com

Mars Express — the first European spacecraft built to investigate another planet — has been snapping color and 3D images of Mars for 10 years.
To honor the Martian anniversary, the European Space Agency has released a spectacular new fly-over video of Mars showing off some of the striking images captured by the Mars Express spacecraft from its place in orbit.
The flood plain in the video is called Kasei Valles, and scientists think it was created during intense flooding events on Mars, ESA officials wrote in a description. The entire video covers an area of about 598,000 square miles (1.55 million square kilometers), which is about equal to the size of Mongolia. Kasei Valles is one of the biggest outflow channels on Mars.

December 24th, 2013

Mars Express heading towards daring flyby of Phobos ESA

Late this month, ESA’s Mars Express will make the closest flyby yet of the Red Planet’s largest moon Phobos, skimming past at only 45 km above its surface.
The flyby on 29 December will be so close and fast that Mars Express will not be able to take any images, but instead it will yield the most accurate details yet of the moon’s gravitational field and, in turn, provide new details of its internal structure.
As the spacecraft passes close to Phobos, it will be pulled slightly off course by the moon’s gravity, changing the spacecraft’s velocity by no more than a few centimetres per second. These small deviations will be reflected in the spacecraft’s radio signals as they are beamed back to Earth, and scientists can then translate them into measurements of the mass and density structure inside the moon.

December 18th, 2013

An Updated Mars Exploration Family Portrait The Planetary Society

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait shows every dedicated spacecraft mission to Mars, and now includes India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s MAVEN. The dates listed are for launch.

October 28th, 2013

Spectacular flyover of Mars Nature


A new video lets viewers experience the sensation of flying over the Martian surface based on actual topographical data taken by a European satellite orbiting the red planet.
The mountains, craters, ancient river beds and lava flows that mark the Martian landscape are visible in images from a stereographic camera aboard ESA’s Mars Express probe.

September 19th, 2013

Could Upcoming Comet Flybys Damage Mars Spacecraft? Space.com

Two comets will buzz Mars over the course of the next year, prompting excitement as well as some concern that cometary particles could hit the spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet and exploring its surface.
Three operational spacecraft currently circle Mars: NASA’s Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), as well as Europe’s Mars Express. NASA also has two functioning rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, on the ground on Mars.
All of these spacecraft will have ringside seats as Comet ISON cruises by Mars this year, followed by Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) in 2014.