Mars Express Status Report - March 2008
Starting 18 November and ending 19 December five manoeuvres were executed to bring the spacecraft from its previous 11:3 resonance orbit to its new 18:5 resonance orbit. This change was necessary to guarantee a proper day-time/night-time distribution for future Mars Express observations.
Preparations for the 2008 eclipse season, once again almost coincident with aphelion (as in 2006) and consequently power wise very challenging have started. First indications are that some power margin exists, but science operations will have to be severely restricted, if not fully stopped (like in 2006). The scientific impact is big as this covers a period where the planet’s surface during pericentre passages will be well illuminated. The planned Phoenix landing support will also take place during this eclipse season.
A so-called deep-discharge test, used to characterize the batteries in great detail, was prepared for January 2008, as part of the preparations for the 2008 eclipse season.
Following a recent agreement between ESA and the HRSC PI on the release of high-resolution DTM, Orthophoto and Mosaic data in the Mars Express science archive, the first data were released on 5 February 2008 (see related links).