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

Today in Techrights

Linux, Graphics, and Linux Foundation

Leftovers: Debian and Ubuntu

  • CD/DVD Image Changes For The Upcoming Debian 9.0 Release
    With Debian 9.0 not being far away from releasing, the Debian CD Images Team has issued an update over their fundamental changes happening for this "Stretch" cycle.
  • The System76 'Galago Pro' laptop looks fantastic, $50 off for a few more days
    The Galago Pro looks like an incredibly stylish device ready for the masses with a slick aluminium casing, instead of the always cheap feeling plastic cases most tend to come with. It's slim, but best of all incredibly light for such a device at 1.3kg (2.87 lbs). It comes with Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS or Ubuntu 17.04, a speedy 7th Gen Intel in either an i5 7200U or i7 7500U and Intel® HD Graphics 620.
  • Download Ubuntu 17.10 daily builds
    The release schedule for Ubuntu 17.10 has been announced, and you can now download the daily build ISO images as well. Daily builds can be useful to watch the progress of Ubuntu 17.10, but are not recommended for normal usage due to possible bugs and changes.

Leftovers: Software

  • GJS: What’s next?
    In my last post, I went into detail about all the new stuff that GJS brought to GNOME 3.24. Now, it’s time to talk about the near future: what GJS will bring to GNOME 3.26.
  • Sending SMS from Linux Just Got Easier with Latest Indicator KDE Connect Update
    Indicator KDE Connect now has Google Contacts integration, making it even easier to send text messages from the Linux desktop.
  • Cumulus Qt is a Lightweight Weather App for Linux
    Cumulus Qt is a Qt weather app for the Linux desktop. It's lightweight, has a bold, striking design inspired by Stormcloud, and is very customisable.
  • Vivaldi 1.10 Browser Now in Development, Will Introduce Docked Developer Tools
    Vivaldi's Ruarí Ødegaard just informed us a few moments ago that Vivaldi 1.10 will be the next major version of the free and cross-platform web browser based on the latest Chromium technologies, not Vivaldi 2.0 as many of you have hoped. Vivaldi 1.9 just hit the streets the other day as world's first web browser to ship with the Ecosia search engine enabled by default to help reforest the plane, and it now looks like Vivaldi's devs never sleep, and development of Vivaldi 1.10 starts today with the first snapshot, Vivaldi 1.10.829.3, which introduces a long-anticipated feature: Docked Developer Tools!