The Mars Express spacecraft celebrated its 20th year in space by transmitting live images of Mars. However, this broadcast was blocked in Spain from time to time due to rain.
The European Space Agency (ESA) conducted the first live broadcast from Mars orbit using the Mars Express orbiter, which has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003. Thus, scientists celebrated the 20th anniversary of the probe in space. NTD says you can see live what the planet looks like during the broadcast.
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Mars Express broadcast live for an hour from Mars orbit on Friday, June 2, and repeatedly sent images of the planet to Earth during that broadcast. It is worth mentioning that at the moment Mars is about 300 million km away from us and therefore it took about 17 minutes for the images to reach Earth. So it wasn’t really a live broadcast. However, in Spain, where the device receiving data from space is located, the transmission of images was periodically interrupted due to rainy weather.
Still, ESA is happy with this historic event because they managed to get many high-quality images of Mars. As the orbiter moved, it was possible to see first only a part of Mars, then almost the entire planet, and again only part of it at the end of its arc. By the way, even white clouds are clearly visible in some images.
According to scientists, usually all images are processed after the orbiter sends them to Earth. Therefore, they are different from what viewers see during the live broadcast. And in general, all the data collected by Mars Express is stored on board for some time and only then transferred to Earth.
ESA said there has never been such a long live broadcast in the history of space exploration, and it was a huge success. Rain in Spain blocked some more images of Mars. It was also clear that the broadcast lasted only 1 hour, because the scientists did not want the device to consume much energy.
The Mars Express spacecraft went to Mars with the Beagle 2 lander, which successfully landed on the planet’s surface but never made contact with Earth. It wasn’t until 2015 that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter lander took pictures of it. Despite the successful landing, it turned out that the solar panels were not fully deployed.
As already written Focus, also had trouble with the first plane on another planet. Scientists were very worried that the Ingenuity helicopter did not come into contact with the Earth for almost a week.
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