On June 2, those with ESA whose agenda was set at 6:00 p.m. had the opportunity to see a live close-up view of the Red Planet, Mars, for an hour that lasted until the broadcast. This is the first time such an event has taken place. And we envision that, given the success of the calls, they may be repeated on more occasions in the future.
“You will have the opportunity to get as close to Mars as possible,” said the Intergovernmental Organization for Space Exploration via its social networks when announcing the astronomical event.
The live images we’ve seen are thanks to the Mars Express spacecraft, a probe that was first launched 20 years ago and aimed to collect important scientific data about Mars’ atmosphere, surface and sub-soil , as well as to look for its signs. past or present life.
After a journey of nearly six months, Mars Express successfully entered Mars orbit on 25 December 2003. This marked a major milestone for the ESA, as it became the first European mission to reach and orbit another planet. In nearly two decades in service, this European space probe has unearthed evidence of vast underground aquifers; Lost and found its surface landing partner named Beagle 2 and shared photos of our neighbor the Red Planet (among many other things).
Due to the large distance between Mars and Earth, the broadcast has not been as ‘live’ as watching Eurovision, for example, since light traveling from Mars can take between 3 and 22 minutes to reach Earth, depending on the orbital position of the two. Planets according to So we actually saw the footage about 17 minutes late (and about a minute in reaching it via cables and servers on the ground).
The images that we have been able to view and that are available in the broadcast via YouTube come directly from Mars Express’s Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC). The orbiter’s camera transmitted a new image every 50 seconds. This camera usually stores the images taken and transmits them in a batch every two days, so this is the first time ESA has attempted to transmit them while they are being taken.
Before the broadcast began, experts spent several weeks developing equipment that would allow live images from the probe’s cameras to be broadcast for a full hour. “This is an ancient camera, originally employed for engineering purposes, some three million kilometers from Earth,” said James Godfrey, manager of spacecraft operations at ESA’s Mission Control Center in Darmstadt, Germany. .
How could it be otherwise, the event was organized to celebrate these 20 years of Mars Express. Today, it continues to help scientists answer fundamental questions about the geology, atmosphere, surface environment, history of water, and the possibility of life on Mars.
#MarsLIVE Stream ESA YouTube Channel,
ESA – Mars Express Mission. https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Mars_Express