MARSIS is go

IMAGE: Max Planck Society
It has taken a long time and likely caused a lot of people at ESA some headaches, but it looks as though the MARSIS instrument, on board Mars Express, is finally ready for action.

MARSIS consists of three radar booms that will be used to transmit radio waves towards the surface of Mars. These radio waves will be at frequencies in the medium wave (MW) band - 1.9, 2.8, 3.8 and 4.8 MHz - which means that they will be able to penetrate the surface. Some of the radio waves will be reflected back, by features under the surface, to the spacecraft. This will allow us, for the first time, to find out what Mars is like below the surface. However, MARSIS isn't a one-trick wonder; it will also look at the upper ionosphere of Mars and should produce some nice science.

The commissioning phase goes from 23rd June to 4th July during which it will be looking at interesting features such as the northern plains and the Tharsis region. Normal science operation should start from July 4th.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 22nd Jun 2005 (22:12 UTC) | Permalink
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