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Copernical Team

Copernical Team

Thursday, 02 December 2021 13:47

A one-way phone call from Mars

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A one-way phone call at Mars
Credit: European Space Agency

This November, ESA's Mars Express spacecraft carried out a series of experimental communication tests with the Chinese (CNSA) Zhurong Mars rover. Mars Express successfully caught data sent up 'in the blind' by the rover and relayed them to Earth where they were forwarded to the Zhurong team in China.

13:07 CET, 7 November, Utopia Planitia. The Zhurong rover, commanded by the Tianwen-1 orbiter, points its radio up at the Martian sky. Any minute now, ESA's Mars Express will begin to pass overhead. Zhurong starts transmitting a signal up into space. It has no way of knowing if its message is being received.

Landers and rovers on Mars gather data that help scientists answer fundamental questions about the geology, atmosphere, surface environment, history of water and potential for life on the Red Planet.

To get these insights to Earth, they first transmit the data up to spacecraft in orbit around Mars. These orbiters then use their much larger, more powerful transmitters to 'relay' the data across space to Earth.

"Normally, an orbiter like ESA's Mars Express first sends down a hail signal to a rover as a 'hello,'" says James Godfrey, Mars Express Spacecraft Operations Manager.

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Two versions of a Curiosity selfie: narrow and wide
Credit: NASA

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover took this 360-degree selfie using the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, at the end of its robotic arm. The selfie comprises 81 individual images taken on Nov. 20, 2021—the 3,303rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

The rock structure behind the rover is "Greenheugh Pediment"; the hill that is middle distance on the right, is "Rafael Navarro Mountain." Curiosity is headed toward "Maria Gordon Notch," the U-shaped opening behind the rover to the left.

Two versions of a Curiosity selfie: narrow and wide
Credit: NASA


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Vienna VA (SPX) Dec 01, 2021
Spire Global has completed its previously announced acquisition of exactEarth Ltd., a leading provider of global maritime vessel data for ship tracking and maritime situational awareness solutions, by way of a plan of arrangement, following the completion of all closing conditions. The Arrangement, which was announced on September 14, 2021, was approved by exactEarth's shareholders at a special
Thursday, 02 December 2021 13:02

AFRL working to develop future workforce

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Wright-Patterson AFB OH (SPX) Nov 30, 2021
Ensuring a steady supply of technical and scientific expertise for American industry and innovation has been a national priority since about 1957 when the Soviet Union launched its first Sputnik. Today, however, with the increasingly rapid pace of high technology, the need to attract young people to the field of advanced technical manufacturing has become even more critical. To meet that need, t
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Washington (Sputnik) Dec 01, 2021
A bipartisan group of US Senators on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to strengthen responses to incidents in space in wake of Russia's recent anti-satellite test. "The space domain is essential for the United States' modern economy. From fostering scientific discovery and planetary exploration to facilitating next-generation communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS), th
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Herndon VA (SPX) Dec 01, 2021
BlackSky has added two satellites to its constellation following the Rocket Lab "Love at First Insight" launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on November 18. The satellites were fully operational and commercially available within six days of launch. "This was the fastest BlackSky dual-satellite commissioning process in the company's history," said Nick Merski, BlackSky chief operations o
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West Lafayette IN (SPX) Dec 01, 2021
The moon has no core dynamo magnetic field, but spacecraft detect numerous strong localized magnetic fields in the crust of the moon. Many of these magnetic anomalies are antipodal to large impact basins. Scientists at Purdue University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, led by Brandon Johnson, Purdue associate professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, ran impact
Thursday, 02 December 2021 13:02

Dragons-Eye View

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Paris (ESA) Dec 01, 2021
It can be hard to appreciate that a human-made, football-pitch-sized spacecraft is orbiting 400 km above our heads, but there it is. The jewel of human cooperation and ingenuity that is the International Space Station shines brightly in this image captured by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. Crew-2 got these amazing views during a flyaround of the o
Thursday, 02 December 2021 13:02

Lead 'em then leave 'em: tech founders who quit

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Paris (AFP) Nov 30, 2021
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey joins a long list of tech gurus who've quit the companies they founded. But what makes them step aside - and is it good for business? From Microsoft's Bill Gates to Amazon's Jeff Bezos, most of the people who created the Silicon Valley giants that dominate our lives have since handed the reins to someone else. "There's a lot of talk about the importance o
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Moscow (Sputnik) Dec 01, 2021
The Pentagon suggests that China tested a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) earlier this year. According to US military observers, China's alleged new orbital hypersonic glide vehicle weapon poses a huge challenge to the Pentagon since the US does not have active countermeasures to these arms. China's new hypersonic weapon system is orbital in nature and could be able to stay in
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