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

Running FreeBSD on the server: a sysadmin speaks

For years now, Linux has been all the rage. But in recent times, there have been murmurings among some veterans — long-time users — after the introduction of systemd, the init system that seems to overstep its boundaries. Read more

More tools for creating QR Codes in Linux

In my previous post I showed how to install CuterCode and Qreator, two simple GUI applications for producing QR Codes. I have now found a couple of other GUI applications, Portable QR-Code Generator and QtQR, both of which offer more features than the aforementioned two, such as allowing you to specify the amount of error correction to be incorporated into the QR Code. And now to the two applications …

Read more

today's leftovers

today's howtos