Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Entry, Descent, Landing, and
Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Entry, Descent, Landing, and Deployment Mars Mission Landing Sites Past and Present
The navigation platform separates from the MER (Mars Exploration Rover) spacecraft in this simulated image. Simulated image of the MER spacecraft as it enters the Martian atmosphere The MER spacecraft is protected by a heat shield as it
speeds through the Martian atmosphere. Aerodynamic forces will slow it to twice the speed of sound. Simulated image of the MER spacecraft as it descends over the Valles Marineras canyon system on Mars Simulated image of the MER vehicle as it descends
closer to the Martian surface A thousand feet above the surface of Mars, a cluster of airbags inflate around the MER vehicle. Simulated image of the MER spacecraft as a supersonic parachute slows its descent to the Martian surface
Airbags provide a protective cushion for landing on the Martian surface. The Lander must slow down from 12,000 mph to 12 mph in 6 minutes.
Re-entry slows the Lander to 1200 mph, then parachutes and 1000 FT Kills downward velocity Free fall
MER Deployment The entire deployment process takes five sols, or Martian days. Scientists and engineers on Earth want to make sure that each step is successfully completed before moving on to the next to avoid complications that
might arise due to the angle of the Lander, an abundance of rocks in the landing area, or other environmental issues. After the camera mast, antennas, wheels, and solar arrays are deployed, the rover will send its first radio transmission to Earth.
In this simulated image, the Lander structure has opened and the rover is still tightly folded. Each step of rover deployment is carefully monitored by scientists and engineers on Earth. In this simulated image, the rover's front wheels havent been deployed.
In this simulated image, rover deployment is complete. Scientists and engineers back on Earth can begin to command the rover. Simulated image of the new Mars rover carrying the science payload
Robot Geology! The Mars Exploration Rovers are ideally equipped to read the rocks for signs of past water. They will follow in the footsteps of their precursor, Mars Pathfinders Sojourner rover. MER-A Rover: Spirit
MER-B Rover: Opportunity The rovers have an arm with a powerful microscope and a scraping tool The scraper will expose the inside of the rock so that the
microscope can examine it for signs of water and life. The rovers are solar powered, so they can only operate during the Martian day time. They will sleep during the Martian night. MER Landing Sites
MER Opportunity Landing Site MER Spirit Landing Site
The Mars rovers communicate with Earth via a network of dish antennas. The Deep Space Network transmits and receives radio signals from the rovers through large dish antennas at three sites
around the world: California's Mojave Desert Madrid, Spain Canberra, Australia They are spaced approximately one-third of the way around the Earth
from each other so that one facility is always facing in the right direction as our planet rotates. The 70m antenna and the 34m antennas at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in Australia
Destination Mars Mars Express European Space Agency Launch: June 2003
Arrive: December 2003 Mars Express will begin orbit around Mars in December 2003 The Mars Express Orbiter will remain in orbit for at least one Martian year (687
Mars Express Mars Express is so named because of its rapid and lowbudget development cycle. It is the European Space Agencys first mission to another planet.
It is based off of a previous, failed ESA Mars mission with updated technology and systems. It is composed of a large orbiter and a tiny lander equipped with a geology
sensor package. Mars Express Orbiter The Mars Express orbiter probe, will study the surface, sub-surface, and
atmosphere of Mars, allowing a better understanding of Martian geology, climate, surface mineral
composition. Beagle 2 Lander Using its PAW (Payload Adjustable Workbench), the Beagle 2 Lander will: Study the geochemistry of the landing site. Search for life signatures in the soil.
Study the local weather and climate. Planet Mars as seen from ESA's Mars Express spacecraft Taken on 1 December 2003 from a distance of about
5.5 million kilometers. A very unusual view of Mars because the planet is illuminated in a way never seen from Earth.
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