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Latest Mars Express Stories

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2006-09-20 15:10:00

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has extended the long-armed antenna of its radar, preparing the instrument to begin probing for underground layers of Mars. The orbiter's Shallow Subsurface Radar, provided by the Italian Space Agency, will search to depths of about one kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) to find and map layers of ice, rock and, if present, liquid water. The radar's antenna had remained safely folded and tucked away throughout the flight to Mars from Aug. 12, 2005, to March...

2006-04-11 07:50:00

By Bernhard Winkler DARMSTADT, Germany (Reuters) - Europe's first space probe to Venus slipped smoothly into the planet's orbit on Tuesday and sent its first signals from there to Earth, ground controllers said. The 1.3 ton Venus Express took off on a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan last November, traveling 250 million miles through space to a mission scheduled to last 486 days. "Everything went as it was planned, clearly, without difficulties," Gaele Winters, European Space Agency...

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2006-04-11 06:30:00

This morning, at the end of a 153-day and 400-million km cruise into the inner Solar System beginning with its launch on November 9, 2005, ESA's Venus Express space probe fired its main engine at 09:17 CEST for a 50-minute burn, which brought it into orbit around Venus. With this firing, the probe reduced its relative velocity toward the planet from 29,000 to about 25,000 km/h and was captured by its gravity field. This orbit insertion manoeuvre was a complete success. During the next four...

2006-04-11 05:30:00

DARMSTADT, Germany -- Europe's first space probe to Venus entered the planet's orbit on Tuesday and sent its first transmissions from there to Earth, ground controllers said. Officials at the European Space Agency's Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, said the Venus Express probe had completed a braking operation shortly after 0800 GMT to gain position to be dragged into the planet's orbit. After a brief so-called occultation period when the craft passed behind the planet and out...

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2006-04-10 13:00:00

It was on November 9th last year that ESA's Venus Express spacecraft lifted off from the desert of Kazakhstan onboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket. Now, after having travelled 400 million kilometres in only about five months, the spacecraft is about to reach its final destination. The rendezvous is due to take place on April 11th. First step: catching Venus To begin to explore our Earth s hot and hazy sister planet, Venus Express must complete a critical first step, the most challenging one...

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2006-03-27 16:38:48

Europe -- Venus Express mission controllers at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) are in intensive preparation for an 11 April arrival at the spacecraft's namesake destination. The critical manoeuvre will involve a deft combination of basic physics, expert spacecraft engineering and precise timing. Next month's Venus Orbit Insertion (VOI) will mark the arrival of the first ESA mission at Venus, one of the Solar System's most enigmatic planets. Orbit insertion comprises a series of...

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2006-03-10 16:40:00

LOS ANGELES - A NASA spacecraft successfully slipped into orbit around Mars Friday, joining a trio of orbiters already circling the Red Planet. Scientists cheered after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter emerged from the planet's shadow and signaled to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that the maneuver was a success. "Oh I am very relieved," project manager Jim Graf said minutes later. "It was picture perfect." The two-ton spacecraft is the most sophisticated ever to arrive at Mars and is...

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2006-03-08 06:35:00

WUSTL -- Two Mars orbiter missions - one from NASA, the other from the European Space Agency (ESA) - will open new vistas in the exploration of Mars through the use of sophisticated ground-penetrating radars, providing international researchers with the first direct clues about the Red Planet's subsurface structure. Roger Phillips, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences, is participating in both the Mars Express (ESA) and...

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2006-02-21 07:25:07

ESA -- These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the fast-moving shadow of the moon Phobos as it moved across the Martian surface. The HRSC obtained these unique images during orbit 2345 on November 10, 2005. These observations would not have been possible without the close co-operation between the camera team at the Institute of Planetary Research at DLR and the ESA teams, in particular the mission engineers at ESA's...

2005-12-20 05:29:46

By Kate Holton LONDON (Reuters) - The scientist behind the lost 2003 Beagle 2 mission to Mars said on Tuesday the craft may have been spotted in NASA pictures which indicate the project very nearly worked. Beagle 2, named after the ship Charles Darwin sailed in when he formulated his theory of evolution, was built by British scientists for about 50 million pounds ($90 million) and taken to Mars aboard the European Space Agency's orbiter Mars Express. It was due to land in a crater...