Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Martian 'divining rod' deploys its first boom

Filed under
Sci/Tech

The first of three radar booms that will search for underground water on Mars has apparently deployed successfully aboard Europe's Mars Express spacecraft, despite fears that the boom would whip back and strike the craft. But the radar will not be functional until its twin deploys, an event currently scheduled for Sunday.

On Wednesday, mission officials in Darmstadt, Germany, commanded the first of two 20-metre-long antennae on the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) experiment to pop out of its storage box. It had been folded there since before the mission's launch in June 2003.

The antenna will form a "T" consisting of the two long booms and a third, 7-metre-long antenna, and was originally scheduled to be deployed in April 2004. But European Space Agency (ESA) officials postponed the date over concerns the antennae could endanger the mission by hitting or getting snagged on the spacecraft during deployment.

Now mission members confirm the first deployment appears to have gone without a hitch, with initial data suggesting the boom popped out as planned.

Team members contacted by New Scientist say they are pleased with the apparent success but remain cautious. More tests of the spacecraft's behaviour will continue on Friday to confirm the boom did indeed straighten out as required. The radar will not be able to function until the second 20-metre boom is deployed.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

KDE: Simple by Default, Powerful When Needed

KDE (back when it was still the name of the desktop environment) and our applications historically stood for powerful features and great flexibility and customizeability. This is what our users love about our software, this is why they choose Plasma and KDE software instead of one of the other Free desktop offerings. And it is also something they would fight tooth and nail for if we wanted to take it away (as many a KDE maintainer who dared to remove a feature he thought was unnecessary can tell). Read more

BitTorrent Bleep alpha released for Android

As an alpha it still has some issues “As with any Alpha, there are some known issues and bugs to work out. Android users will need to set the app to “Wi-Fi Only” unless you have an unlimited data plan; this is only for the time being while we iron out and issue related to battery and data-plan. And while you can move a username from desktop to mobile, Bleep does not yet support moving an existing account from Android to the desktop. And while you can receive messages on multiple devices; messages sent will not be seen across all devices. As with our previous release, communications happen only when all parties are online – you cannot send offline photos or group chats asynchronously.” Read more

During Akademy 2014

This year there were lot of fast track (10 minutes) talks on different areas around KDE. All of them were quite interesting, some of them are: Bruno Coudoin talked about how and why GCompris moved to QtQuick with the support of KDE. What all challenges project faced while moving from GTK to Qt. Daniel Vrátil talked about his one year journey with Akonadi Martin Gräßlin gave an overview of current state of Kwin in adding Wayland support and future plans. Kevin Ottens talked about KDE craftsmen where analysis was on the way we handle our software production, how can we make our software even better. Kai Uwe Broulik talked about current status of Qt port on Android and iOS. Currently, 3 iOS apps in Apple store and 8 Android apps in Google play since December 2013. Read more

Leftovers: Software