19 February 2002

NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2001 Mars Odyssey
Mars Odyssey spacecraft model.png
Artist's impression of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft
Mission typeMars orbiter
OperatorNASA / JPL
COSPAR ID2001-014A
SATCAT no.26734
Websitemars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/
Mission durationElapsed:
19 years, 1 month and 19 days from launch
18 years, 7 months and 2 days at Mars (6607 sols)

En route: 6 months, 17 days
Primary mission: 32 months (1007 sols)
Extended mission: 15 years, 9 months and 1 day (5599 sols) elapsed
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Launch mass758 kilograms (1,671 lb)
Dry mass376.3 kilograms (830 lb)
Power750 W
Start of mission
Launch date7 April 2001, 15:02:22 (2001-04-07UTC15:02:22Z) UTC
RocketDelta II 7925-9.5
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-17A
Orbital parameters
Reference systemAreocentric
RegimeSun-synchronous
Semi-major axis3,793.4 km (2,357.1 mi)[1]
Eccentricity0.0
Periareion altitude400 km (250 mi)[1]
Apoareion altitude400 km (250 mi)[1]
Inclination93.064 degrees[1]
Period2 hours[1]
Epoch19 October 2002[1]
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion24 October 2001, 02:18:00 UTC
MSD 45435 12:21 AMT
2001 Mars Odyssey - mars-odyssey-logo-sm.png  

2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and a thermal imager to detect evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as study the planet's geology and radiation environment.[2] It is hoped that the data Odyssey obtains will help answer the question of whether life existed on Mars and create a risk-assessment of the radiation that future astronauts on Mars might experience. It also acts as a relay for communications between the Mars Science Laboratory, and previously the Mars Exploration Rovers and Phoenix lander, to Earth. The mission was named as a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, evoking the name of 2001: A Space Odyssey.[3]

Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and reached Mars orbit on October 24, 2001, at 02:30 UTC (October 23, 19:30 PDT, 22:30 EDT).[4]

By December 15, 2010, it broke the record for longest serving spacecraft at Mars, with 3,340 days of operation.[5] As of 2019 October it is in a polar orbit around Mars with a semi-major axis of about 3,800 km or 2,400 miles. It has enough propellant to function until 2025.

Overview

On May 28, 2002 (sol 210), NASA reported that Odyssey's GRS instrument had detected large amounts of hydrogen, a sign that there must be ice lying within a meter of the planet's surface, and proceeded to map the distribution of water below the shallow surface.[6] The orbiter also discovered vast deposits of bulk water ice near the surface of equatorial regions.[7]

Odyssey has also served as the primary means of communications for NASA's Mars surface explorers in the past decade, up to the Curiosity rover. By December 15, 2010, it broke the record for longest serving spacecraft at Mars, with 3,340 days of operation, claiming the title from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor.[5] It currently holds the record for the longest-surviving continually active spacecraft in orbit around a planet other than Earth, ahead of the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (served 14 years[8]) and the Mars Express (serving over 14 years), at 18 years, 7 months and 2 days.

Naming

In August 2000, NASA solicited candidate names for the mission. Out of 200 names submitted, the committee chose Astrobiological Reconnaissance and Elemental Surveyor, abbreviated ARES (a tribute to Ares, the Greek god of war). Faced with criticism that this name was not very compelling, and too aggressive, the naming committee reconvened. The candidate name "2001 Mars Odyssey" had earlier been rejected because of copyright and trademark concerns. However, NASA e-mailed Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka, who responded that he would be delighted to have the mission named after his books, and he had no objections. On September 20, NASA associate administrator Ed Weiler wrote to the associate administrator for public affairs recommending a name change from ARES to 2001 Mars Odyssey. Peggy Wilhide then approved the name change.[9][10]

Scientific instruments

The three primary instruments Odyssey uses are the:

Mission

Summary of Mars Odyssey mission start
Animation of 2001 Mars Odyssey's trajectory around Sun
  2001 Mars Odyssey ·   Earth ·   Mars
Animation of 2001 Mars Odyssey's trajectory around Mars from 24 October 2001 to 24 October 2002
   2001 Mars Odyssey ·   Mars
Mars Odyssey as imaged by Mars Global Surveyor

Mars Odyssey launched from Cape Canaveral on April 7, 2001, and arrived at Mars about 200 days later on October 24. The spacecraft's main engine fired in order to decelerate, which allowed it to be captured into orbit around Mars. Odyssey then spent about three months aerobraking, using friction from the upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere to gradually slow down and reduce and circularize its orbit. By using the atmosphere of Mars to slow the spacecraft in its orbit rather than firing its engine or thrusters, Odyssey was able to save more than 200 kilograms (440 lb) of propellant. This reduction in spacecraft weight allowed the mission to be launched on a Delta II 7925 launch vehicle, rather than a larger, more expensive launcher.[13]

Aerobraking ended in January 2002, and Odyssey began its science mapping mission on February 19, 2002. Odyssey's original, nominal mission lasted until August 2004, but repeated mission extensions have kept the mission active.[14]

About 85% of images and other data from NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have reached Earth via communications relay by Odyssey. The orbiter helped analyze potential landing sites for the rovers and performed the same task for NASA's Phoenix mission, which landed on Mars in May 2008. Odyssey aided NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which reached Mars in March 2006, by monitoring atmospheric conditions during months when the newly arrived orbiter used aerobraking to alter its orbit into the desired shape.[15]

Odyssey is in a Sun-synchronous orbit, which provides consistent lighting for its photographs. On September 30, 2008 (sol 2465) the spacecraft altered its orbit to gain better sensitivity for its infrared mapping of Martian minerals. The new orbit eliminated the use of the gamma ray detector, due to the potential for overheating the instrument at the new orbit.

MARIE hardware, designed to measure radiation

The payload's MARIE radiation experiment stopped taking measurements after a large solar event bombarded the Odyssey spacecraft on October 28, 2003. Engineers believe the most likely cause is that a computer chip was damaged by a solar particle smashing into the MARIE computer board.

The orbiter's orientation is controlled by a set of three reaction wheels and a spare. When one failed in June 2012, the fourth was spun up and successfully brought into service. Since July 2012, Odyssey has been back in full, nominal operation mode following three weeks of 'safe' mode on remote maintenance.[16][17]

On February 11, 2014, mission control accelerated Odyssey's drift toward a morning-daylight orbit to "enable observation of changing ground temperatures after sunrise and after sunset in thousands of places on Mars". The orbital change occurred gradually until November 2015.[18] Those observations could yield insight about the composition of the ground and about temperature-driven processes, such as warm seasonal flows observed on some slopes, and geysers fed by spring thawing of carbon dioxide (CO2) ice near Mars' poles.[18]

On October 19, 2014, NASA reported that the Mars Odyssey Orbiter,[19] as well as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter[20] and MAVEN,[21] were healthy after the Comet Siding Spring flyby.[22][23]

In 2010, a spokesman for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated that Odyssey could continue operating until at least 2016.[24] This estimate has since been extended until 2025.[25]

Water on Mars

By 2008, Mars Odyssey had mapped the basic distribution of water below the shallow surface.[26] The ground truth for its measurements came on July 31, 2008, when NASA announced that the Phoenix lander confirmed the presence of water on Mars,[27] as predicted in 2002 based on data from the Odyssey orbiter. The science team is trying to determine whether the water ice ever thaws enough to be available for microscopic life, and if carbon-containing chemicals and other raw materials for life are present.

The orbiter also discovered vast deposits of bulk water ice near the surface of equatorial regions.[7] Evidence for equatorial hydration is both morphological and compositional and is seen at both the Medusae Fossae formation and the Tharsis Montes.[7]

Odyssey and Curiosity

Mars Odyssey's THEMIS instrument was used to help select a landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).[28] Several days before MSL's landing in August 2012, Odyssey's orbit was altered to ensure that it would be able to capture signals from the rover during its first few minutes on the Martian surface.[29] Odyssey also acts as a relay for UHF radio signals from the (MSL) rover Curiosity.[29] Because Odyssey is in a Sun-synchronous orbit, it consistently passes over Curiosity's location at the same two times every day, allowing for convenient scheduling of contact with Earth.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Makovsky, A.; Barbieri, A.; Tung, R. (October 2002). Odyssey Telecommunications (PDF) (Report).
  2. ^ "Mars Odyssey Goals". NASA JPL.
  3. ^ "Mars Odyssey: Overview". JPL, CIT. Archived from the original on 2011-09-19.
  4. ^ Beatty, J. Kelly (2012-05-24). "Mars Odyssey Arrives". Sky and Telescope. Sky Publishing. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  5. ^ a b "NASA's Odyssey Spacecraft Sets Exploration Record on Mars". Press Releases. JPL, NASA. 2010-12-15. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25.
  6. ^ "January, 2008: Hydrogen Map". Lunar & Planetary Lab at The University of Arizona.
  7. ^ a b c Equatorial locations of water on Mars: Improved resolution maps based on Mars Odyssey Neutron Spectrometer data (PDF). Jack T. Wilson, Vincent R. Eke, Richard J. Massey, Richard C. Elphic, William C. Feldman, Sylvestre Maurice, Luıs F. A. Teodoroe. Icarus, 299, 148-160. January 2018.
  8. ^ "Pioneer Venus 1: In Depth". NASA.
  9. ^ Hubbard, Scott (2011). Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery. University of Arizona Press. pp. 149–51. ISBN 978-0-8165-2896-7.
  10. ^ "It's "2001 Mars Odyssey" for NASA's Next Trip to the Red Planet" (Press release). NASA HQ/JPL. 2000-09-28. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  11. ^ Christensen, P. R.; Jakosky, B. M.; Kieffer, H. H.; Malin, M. C.; McSween Jr., H. Y.; Nealson, K.; Mehall, G. L.; Silverman, S. H.; Ferry, S.; Caplinger, M.; Ravine, M. (2004). "The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) for the Mars 2001 Odyssey Mission". Space Science Reviews. 110 (1–2): 85. Bibcode:2004SSRv..110...85C. doi:10.1023/B:SPAC.0000021008.16305.94.
  12. ^ Boynton, W.V.; Feldman, W.C.; Mitrofanov, I.G.; Evans, L.G.; Reedy, R.C.; Squyres, S.W.; Starr, R.; Trombka, J.I.; d'Uston, C.; Arnold, J.R.; Englert, P.A.J.; Metzger, A.E.; Wänke, H.; Brückner, J.; Drake, D.M.; Shinohara, C.; Fellows, C.; Hamara, D.K.; Harshman, K.; Kerry, K.; Turner, C.; Ward1, M.; Barthe, H.; Fuller, K.R.; Storms, S.A.; Thornton, G.W.; Longmire, J.L.; Litvak, M.L.; Ton'chev, A.K. (2004). "The Mars Odyssey Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Instrument Suite". Space Science Reviews. 110 (1–2): 37. Bibcode:2004SSRv..110...37B. doi:10.1023/B:SPAC.0000021007.76126.15.
  13. ^ "Mars Odyssey: Newsroom". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  14. ^ "Mission Timeline - Mars Odyssey". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  15. ^ NASA, JPL. "Communications Relay - Mars Odyssey". mars.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  16. ^ "Longest-Lived Mars Orbiter Is Back in Service". Status Reports. JPL. 2012-06-27. Archived from the original on 2012-07-03.
  17. ^ NASA, JPL. "Guidance, Navigation, and Control - Mars Odyssey". mars.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  18. ^ a b Staff (2014-02-12). "NASA Moves Longest-Serving Mars Spacecraft for New Observations". Press Releases. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.
  19. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (October 19, 2014). "NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter Watches Comet Fly Near". NASA. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  20. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (October 19, 2014). "NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Studies Comet Flyby". NASA. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  21. ^ Jones, Nancy; Steigerwald, Bill; Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (October 19, 2014). "NASA's MAVEN Studies Passing Comet and Its Effects". NASA. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  22. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne; Jones, Nancy; Steigerwald, Bill (October 19, 2014). "All Three NASA Mars Orbiters Healthy After Comet Flyby". NASA. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  23. ^ France-Presse, Agence (October 19, 2014). "A Comet's Brush With Mars". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  24. ^ Kremer, Ken (2010-12-13). "The Longest Martian Odyssey Ever". Universe Today. Archived from the original on 2010-12-20.
  25. ^ "THEMIS makes 60,000 orbits of Red Planet | Mars Odyssey Mission THEMIS". themis.asu.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  26. ^ "January, 2008: Hydrogen Map". Lunar & Planetary Lab at The University of Arizona.
  27. ^ "Confirmation of Water on Mars". Phoenix Mars Lander. NASA. 2008-06-20. Archived from the original on 2008-07-01.
  28. ^ "THEMIS Support for MSL Landing Site Selection". THEMIS. Arizona State University. 2006-07-28. Archived from the original on 2006-08-14.
  29. ^ a b Gold, Scott (2012-08-07). "Curiosity's perilous landing? 'Cleaner than any of our tests'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-08-09.

External links

19 February 2003

An Ilyushin Il-76 military aircraft crashes near Kerman, Iran.

The 2003 Iran Ilyushin Il-76 crash occurred on 19 February 2003, when an Ilyushin Il-76 crashed in mountainous terrain near Kerman in Iran. The Aerospace Force of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution aircraft, registration 15-2280, was flying from Zahedan to Kerman when it crashed 35 kilometres southeast of Kerman. The aircraft was carrying members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, a special force that is independent from the Iranian Army, on an unknown mission.

Strong winds were reported in the region of the crash when the aircraft disappeared from the radar screens; approximately at the same time, villagers in the area described hearing a loud explosion. There were no survivors among the 275 occupants on board the aircraft
The IL-76 was flying a route from Zahedan Airport to Kerman Airport carrying members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on an unspecified mission. The four-engine Russian transport aircraft with a crew of 18, lost contact with air traffic control at 5:30 pm after flying into poor weather conditions.

The aircraft crashed into the Sirch mountains, southeast of Kerman, about 500 miles southeast of Tehran, killing all aboard. Investigators believe it was a controlled flight into terrain, citing the deteriorating weather conditions and high winds.

Immediately after the crash, members of the Revolutionary Guards and Red Crescent were sent to the accident scene. Two helicopters attempting to reach the scene turned back due to bad weather. A cordon of the area was completed as well, limiting access to journalists and the public.

President Mohammad Khatami’s cabinet sent a message of condolence to families of the victims about the tragic event in which a group of IRGC brothers—Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps—were killed. The Iranian government also blamed U.S. sanctions against Iran for playing a part in the crash since the restrictions make it more difficult for Iran to maintain its aircraft.

There was speculation that the accident was the result of a mid-air collision due to the high number of fatalities. A terrorist organization called the Abu-Bakr Brigades also claimed responsibility for the crash.

19 February 2006

A methane explosion in a coal mine near Nueva Rosita in Mexico kills 65 miners.

Palau, Mexico — Fermin was a mechanic, not a coal miner, but on the morning of February 19, 2006 he had to go down into the Pasta de Conchos mine near here to fix a broken cart that couldn’t haul the coal out.

Five years later, Fermin’s remains are still more than 100 meters (109 yards) below the ground, together with dozens of miners who worked that night.

Daniel Ezquiel, Fermin’s only son, doesn’t remember his father. He was just 1 year old when “the mine swallowed the miners.”

So that he won’t forget, his mother, Maria de Lourdes, sets aside part of her widow’s pension — 2,200 pesos a month — to buy any newspaper that publishes something about the incident. She cuts articles and photos, and pastes them in an album.

That Sunday, just past 2:30 a.m., an explosion left 65 miners buried who were working inside the Pasta de Conchos mine, in the Mexican state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico.

The mine is owned by Grupo Mexico, one of the largest mining companies in the country.

Then-President Vicente Fox never visited the relatives mourning at the mine site. President Felipe Calderon has also avoided meeting with the more than 300 family members.

After five years, the relatives and about five widows continue asking for the bodies to be retrieved from the mine. Citing dangerous conditions, the company abandoned the attempts to pull them out.

Maria de Lourdes says that a year and a half ago, she stopped receiving the 420 pesos the-ex governor of Coahuila sent so that the children of the miners could continue studying.

She sells baby clothing to complement her income and keep her son in school. She doesn’t want Daniel Ezequiel to be a coal miner.

There are several versions about the cause of the incident that killed the workers. Grupo Mexico says that there was an explosion caused by a ball of gas — gas that escapes from the earth at the moment of the coal extraction — and that as a consequence, the temperature in the mine rose to more than 900 degrees Celsius.

However, according to the autopsies of the only two bodies that were pulled from the mine, their deaths were caused by asphyxiation, not burns.

Those two bodies were located in the ninth diagonal tunnel in the mine. Grupo Mexico says it went nearly 2.8 kilometers into the mine, but hadn’t found the other remains.

In February 2007, the Coahuila state government produced 65 death certificates certified by a medical examiner, even though only two bodies had been recovered.

With 63 bodies still underground, Grupo Mexico decided to suspend the rescue of the bodies in April 2007. At that time, the company argued that according to their investigations, 25% to 75% of the mine was flooded and “the water possibly is contaminated by HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, that could contaminate the rescuers, their families and entire populations.” These findings were given to the Pasta de Conchos Family Organization, which has advised the victims’ relatives.

Inspection records from a few months before the blast revealed that the ventilation system was failing and that there were problems with the electrical equipment. Some family members say the workers complained of a strong odor of gas.

Through a spokesman, Grupo Mexico declined to speak about the incident, citing internal policies.

Cristina Auerbach, lawyer for the victims’ relatives in the Pasta de Conchos Family Organization, said that explosions in the regions’ mines had been recorded since 1889. Even then, the only times that bodies were left inside the mine were 1889 and 2006. In the rest of the cases, the bodies were always recovered, alive or dead.

Auerbach recalled one of the biggest blasts that happened in 1969 in the town of Barroteran. In the Guadalupe mines, more than 160 people died. A little over a year later, all the bodies were recovered.

“The question isn’t whether Chile could and Mexico couldn’t, because the answer that they will give is that it was different because that mine was mineral and this one was coal, and this one had gas and that one didn’t. What you can compare is the government’s attitude,” she said. “Neither Vicente Fox nor Felipe Calderon has wanted to meet the families. Not only that, but in coal mining region, the bodies are always rescued. Only at Pasta de Conchos they are not.”

In northeast Coahuila, it’s common to find someone who has a miner in the family. Walking down the streets of towns like Nueva Rosita, Palau, San Juan Sabinas and Muzquiz, you can see trucks full of freshly mined coal at all hours.

At the end of each shift — around 3 p.m., 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. — trucks pass by with men whose faces are painted black by the carbon dust that fell on them during their 12 hours of work.

Nearly all the coal in Mexico is produced in Coahuila, according to the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information.

Raul Villasana, retired at age 67, also was a miner. He worked for more than 20 years in Grupo Mexico’s mines. One of his sons remains inside Pasta de Conchos. He and his wife Trinidad have traveled several times to Mexico City to participate in demonstrations in front of Grupo Mexico and the Labor Ministry to plead for the excavation of their son.

“We were recently at the Interior Ministry in November and what I asked for was my son’s rescue. I have asked for that since the beginning. Because the mine is not a cemetery, right? It’s for people to work in,” he said. “What we are asking the company and the government to do is to give the bodies to us, so we can do a holy burial and take him flowers, go see him, go visit him with his daughters, wife, sister, who also have asked for this.”

Villasana’s son left behind a son and two daughters. The widow decided to invest the 750,000 pesos that the family received from the company to set up a used clothes business that she supplies from the United States.

Maria de Lourdes, Fermin’s widow, knows the mining life well. Her father, Arsenio, was also a miner. He mined black gold from Pasta de Conchos. He retired several years before the blast.

Five years after the tragedy, she says some rescuers have dared to confess that at night they heard “noises like pickaxes striking on metal.”

Arsenio thinks those were the sounds of the last surviving miners.

“Though after all that time there is no way that they could come out alive,” he stated.

For residents like Villasana and Arsenio, Pasta de Conchos turned from a mine into a cemetery the morning of February 19. 2006.

19 February 1985

EastEnders is broadcast for the first time on the BBC.

On the 19th February 1985, the BBC’s flagship soap opera EastEnders was broadcast for the first time. Now airing four episodes a week, the series has been broadcast continuously ever since and remains one of the most popular television shows in the United Kingdom.

EastEnders was created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland, a producer and script editing partnership who had previously worked together on long-running police drama Z-Cars. In March 1983 they were asked to come up with a bi-weekly evening television drama by David Reid, the BBC’s Head of Series & Serials, who wanted a new show to run 52 weeks a year.

Smith and Holland were both from London, and opted to set the soap in the East End. They based the original twenty-four characters on their own families and people they had met in London’s ‘real’ East End, and contacted casting agencies in search of actors to fill the roles. Their repeated phone calls asking for ‘real East Enders’ provided Smith with the idea for the show’s name.

The show required a huge set to be built at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Meanwhile, composer Simon May created the now-iconic theme tune. This was to play over an aerial view of London pieced together from 800 separate photographs taken from an aeroplane flying 1000 feet over London.

The show was first broadcast on the 19th February 1985 as part of new BBC One controller Michael Grade’s ‘relaunch’ of the channel. The first episode secured an audience of 17 million, which increased to 23 million by the end of the year.