Feeds

Old-timer Odyssey to babysit Curiosity's Mars landing

10-year-old orbiter to keep an eye on rover's hidden descent

SANS - Survey on application security programs

NASA has managed to nudge veteran spacecraft Odyssey, which has been orbiting Mars since October 2001 – into a better position to pick up communications from rover Curiosity as it lands on Mars on 5 August.

NASA's Mars orbiter Odyssey

Mars orbiter Odyssey . Credit: NASA/JPL

The space agency had been a tad concerned that it wouldn't be able to talk to Curiosity at all as the Mars Science Laboratory made its way down to the Red Planet, as it can only send limited info direct to Earth once it's in the alien atmosphere. Even that limited transmission will cut off when Earth sets below the Marian horizon from the MSL's point of view.

The plan was always to have Odyssey relay the comms from Curiosity back to Earth, but on 11 July, NASA stalwart Odyssey entered safe mode and wouldn't have reached the landing area until two minutes after the rover had landed.

Yesterday, NASA beamed up the instructions for a thruster burn of about six seconds, which has pushed Odyssey six minutes further along in its Martian orbit. The craft is now operating normally again and the agency expects to hear confirmation (or not), of Curiosity's safe arrival at 06.31 BST on 6 August (22.31 PDT 5 August).

Two other orbiters are circling Mars at the moment, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the European Space Agency's Mars Express. Both of them will be recording the information from Curiosity, but only Odyssey is able to relay it immediately.

"Information we are receiving indicates the maneouvre has completed as planned," said Mars Odyssey Project Manager Gaylon McSmith. "Odyssey has been working at Mars longer than any other spacecraft, so it is appropriate that it has a special role in supporting the newest arrival." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.