Mars Express Status Report - May 2007
23 May 2007 14:47Mission Status
The spacecraft has been operating nominally, and with the Earth-Mars distance decreasing, the data rate is continuously increasing, allowing for a commensurate increase in data return.
Operations and Archiving
Mars Express successfully participated in observations coordinated with Rosetta during its Mars flyby. The data are being analysed.
The mission planning process for the period containing the start of the next eclipse season has started. Although power wise a much less critical period than the 2006 eclipse season (due to the reduced Mars-Sun distance), planning such periods still is a very challenging process.
A successful Science Operations Working Group meeting was held at ESAC 3 April 2007. The meeting discussed, amongst others, the phasing of the planned Mars Express orbit manoeuvre (going from an 11:3 to an 18:5 resonance) in view of the requested NASA Phoenix EDL (Entry-Descent-Landing) support. This is important to keep the Mars Express science planning process doable. Some delay of the MEX manoeuvre (with a limited science return impact) may be required.
New OMEGA data was received for the Planetary Science Archive, which pending a required addition to the data will be ingested. Similarly, some new ASPERA data (IMA) has been received, but this will need to be reviewed before ingestion into the archive. All other data deliveries are proceeding as planned.
A Mars Express data workshop, to be held at ESAC 11-15 June 2007, is being planned. This is a new initiative which appears to be welcomed by the community. The first workshop will focus on (co-)analysing HRSC and OMEGA data.
A major Mars Express paper has been published in Science on 15 March 2007. It is entitled "Subsurface radar sounding of the South polar layered deposits of Mars", by J. Plaut, G. Picardi and co-authors, and describes some of the more recent Marsis findings.
A two page article on OMEGA and its scientific results was published in Le Monde.
The estimated cumulative number of Mars Express publications to date is about 196 peer-reviewed articles.