MarsNews.com
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.

July 2nd, 2013

ESA Euronews: The Mars detectives ESA

Europe’s off to Mars. Again. We have sent robots to fly over Mars, crawl over Mars and soon to dig down into Mars – searching for signs that once, perhaps deep in the past, this planet may have been home to life. It might be an obvious choice, but still a puzzle, and one that we’re only just beginning to piece together. And finding evidence of life will require the skill of the finest detectives.
This is a mystery that Europe’s ExoMars mission is ready to solve. In 2016 it will have a satellite in orbit around Mars, designed to test for methane, and by 2018 this rover will be rolling around the Red Planet. The mission will be the first to set out with the direct intention of finding signs of life, now, and in the past.

April 4th, 2013

Mars missions scaled back in April because of sun AP

It’s the Martian version of spring break: Curiosity and Opportunity, along with their spacecraft friends circling overhead, will take it easy this month because of the sun’s interference.
For much of April, the sun blocks the line of sight between Earth and Mars. This celestial alignment — called a Mars solar conjunction — makes it difficult for engineers to send instructions or hear from the flotilla in orbit and on the surface.
Such communication blackouts occur every two years when the red planet disappears behind the sun. No new commands are sent since flares and charged particles spewing from the sun can scramble transmission signals and put spacecraft in danger.

March 28th, 2013

Why a Mars Comet Impact Would be Awesome Discovery News

When Jupiter’s tides ripped Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 to shreds, only for the icy chunks to succumb to the intense Jovian gravity, ultimately slamming into the gas giant’s atmosphere, mankind was treated to a rare cosmic spectacle (in human timescales at least). That was the first time in modern history that we saw a comet do battle with a planet… and lose.
But next year, astronomers think there’s a chance — albeit a small one — of a neighboring planet getting punched by an icy interplanetary interloper. However, this planet doesn’t have a generously thick atmosphere to soften the blow. Rather than causing bruises in a dense, molecular hydrogen atmosphere, this comet will pass through the atmosphere like it wasn’t even there and hit the planetary surface like a cosmic pile-driver, ripping into the crust.
What’s more, we’d have robotic eyes on the ground and in orbit should the worst happen.

August 15th, 2012

ESA spacecraft records crucial NASA signals from Mars ESA

ESA’s Mars Express acquired signals from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory as it delivered the car-sized Curiosity rover onto the Red planet’s surface. ESA’s New Norcia tracking station also picked up signals directly from the NASA mission, 248 million km away at Mars.
A key step was completed today in ESA’s ongoing support to NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Signals recorded by Mars Express during MSL’s entry and descent were successfully received at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
The open-loop recording of radio Doppler and signal spectrum transmitted by the NASA mission were stored on Mars Express and then downloaded to Earth.

August 15th, 2012

Mars Rover’s ‘Voice’ Captured During Nail-Biting Landing Space.com

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity may seem like the strong, silent type, but the 1-ton robot was making a lot of noise during its harrowing Red Planet touchdown on Aug. 5.
Curiosity phoned home throughout its daring and unprecedented landing sequence that night, giving its nervous handlers step-by-step status and health updates. The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter recorded some of this chatter, and now we can hear what Curiosity had to say.
Sort of. ESA scientists have processed Curiosity’s radio signals, shifting them to frequencies the human ear can hear.