Feeds

NASA delays Mars mission by 24 hours

Dodgy rocket parts need to be ruled out

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Today should have seen the launch of the next mission to Mars, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. However, NASA has elected to delay the launch by 24 hours because of problems with the new Atlas V rocket launcher.

NASA said that a test at the manufacturers had revealed a problem with a part similar to those used in the flight control system on board the MRO launcher. The engineering team is now trying to work out of the problem that affected the part at the manufacturer is likely to affect the Atlas V that will propel the MRO into space.

Originally slated to blast off from Cape Canaveral at 12:54 British Summer Time, NASA says the Orbiter will now launch between 12:35 and 14:50 BST on Thursday.

The mission's main aim is to discover more about the history of water on Mars. During its 25-month mission, the MRO will scan the surface of Mars. The data it captures, including images in extreme close-up, will yield information about subsurface water, the minerals in the Martian soil, and the distribution of dust and water in the atmosphere. The orbiter will also monitor the daily global weather.

One of the cameras on board, the HiRISE, will be able to capture details of objects the size of a small table, raising the possibility that the missing Beagle 2 lander, and other lost Mars missions, could be seen from orbit.

Despite the huge surface area to be scanned, Professor Pillinger, Beagle 2's lead scientist, is optimistic about the chances of finding the lost craft. "If we could just see some trace of it on the surface then at least we could see how far it got the not knowing is the worst bit. It will be a very difficult thing to do but this is our best chance of finding out what happened," he said.

Dr Andrew Coates from UCLs Mullard Space Science Laboratory says that the MRO's research will compliment the work already done by the European Mars Express orbiter. "When combined with the data from Mars Express we will have an incredibly detailed picture of Mars, its atmosphere and surface, including ideal sites for future Landers. Additionally, MRO could provide a communications channel to Earth for future European robotic surface missions like ExoMars," he said. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?