Feeds

Mars Express up and running

And slim hope for student satellite

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A faulty instrument on Mars Express is up and running again after a "few months" out of action. The Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) went offline in July this year when its pendulum motor broke down. Once mission scientists were able to establish the cause of the problem, they switched to the back up motor and the PFS is back in business.

The PFS is designed to take very precise measurements of the distribution of the main gases that make up the Martian atmosphere, as well as measuring how temperature and pressure change with altitude, and tracking how this changes with the seasons.

When conditions are good it can also detect less abundant gases, the presence of dust in the atmosphere, and even make inferences about the composition of the soil.

It was the PFS that made the first ever in-situ measurements of methane in the Martian atmosphere, and also discovered traces of formaldehyde in the soil, provoking even more speculation than usual that there might be life on the red planet.

Now that the instrument has been switched back on, it will be able to start gathering data again almost immediately, mission managers say.

In related news, ESA said this week that there is a "small hope" that the student-built Sseti satellite would recover from its power problems. After a successful launch, the satellite was quickly put into safe mode after it emerged that there is a problem with charging its batteries.

In a bid to make the best of a bad situation, those in charge of the project stress that many of its goals have already been achieved. Project manager Neil Melville said that the mission had been a success from "an educational and technical standpoint". ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.