Mars Express team leaders launch on to conference circuit
1 October 1999Rudi Schmidt and Agustin Chicarro, Project Manager and Project Scientist for Mars Express, have a busy month ahead explaining the mission's philosophy and goals at the season's most prominent conferences. Mars Express - ESA's approach to the implementation of a small mission will be the subject of Schmidt's talk to the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) 50th Anniversary Congress* in Amsterdam next week. Chicarro will outline the mission's scientific goals at the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology* in Moscow, also next week, and at the Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)* in Padova, Italy the following week.
"The IAF congress is the forum where the international community of space engineers exchanges views and experience about how to optimise missions and coordinate data exchange, orbits and standards," says Schmidt. Held annually in different venues all over the world, the congress is attended by more than 2,000 space experts, scientists, engineers, managers and students. Schmidt's talk, included in a session on low cost planetary missions, will explain how "a compressed implementation schedule, a new relationship between ESA, industry and the scientific community and exploitation of synergies between the ground operations" of Mars Express and another ESA mission, Rosetta, will help keep the project within more stringent cost constraints than ever before imposed on a planetary mission.
Chicarro's talks to the Moscow and Padova conferences will outline the scientific objectives of Mars Express, how the mission concept emerged after more than ten years debate and study within ESA, and how Mars Express will foster international collaboration with US and Japanese missions to the red planet. "The Moscow conference is an opportunity to get to know scientists from the Former Soviet Union," says Chicarro. "They may be doing very good science that we are not aware of. And they're not necessarily very well aware of our missions and studies. The conference is like a window into another world, looking in both directions." The conference is attended by many scientists from Russia and the former Soviet republics who rarely get the opportunity to travel to major conferences in the West.
The Padova meeting will be only the third time in 31 years that the DPS has held its annual meeting outside the US. The conference will cover a wide range of topics including planetary atmospheres and comets as well as the solid planets and extrasolar planets.
* IAF 50th Anniversary Congress, 4-8 October 1999, Rai Conference Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Talk by Rudi Schmidt in session on low cost planetary missions at 14.00-17.00 on 4 October. Further information at http://www.iafastro.com/congress/con_fra.htm. 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology, 8-9 October 1999, Vernadsky Institute, Moscow, Russia. Talk by Agustin Chicarro in the morning session on 8 October. Further information at http://www.geokhi.ru/~planetology/Vern_Brown/gener_e.htm Division for Planetary Sciences 31st Annual Meeting, 10-15 October, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Talk by Agustin Chicarro in session on science and technology of future space missions at 8.00-10.30 on 12 October. Further information at http://cisas.unipd.it/dps99.