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2 Mars Missions Set For Arrival, Both Prepare for Orbital Maneuvers 65

As reported by the BBC, NASA's Maven Mars orbiter has nearly reached the red planet, and will undergo a 33-minute rocket burn to slow its course. Monday's big manoeuvre on Maven's engines will place the satellite in a high, elliptical, 35-hour orbit around the planet. Confirmation of capture should be received on Earth shortly after 0220 GMT (2220 EDT Sunday; 0320 BST). "We should have a preliminary answer within just a few minutes after the end of the burn," said [principal investigator professor Bruce] Jakosky. In the coming weeks, engineers will then work to bring Maven into a regular 4.5-hour, operational orbit that takes the probe as close as 150km to Mars but also sends it out to 6,200km. India's first mission to Mars faces a critical test as it does a similar maneuver -- firing of a rocket to slow its travel as it approaches Mars orbit.
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2 Mars Missions Set For Arrival, Both Prepare for Orbital Maneuvers

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  • What are some of the best astronomy-specific news sites? I know that each individual agency has their own news sites, but would like to find a site that gathers everything in one place.

  • First Martian traffic event, woohoo! Granted, it is not a red or even an orange in the google-map traffic scale, but still...
  • ...what if they collided, and both missions suddenly failed?

    OK, I'd have to admit that would be kind of hilarious (setting aside the decades of work and hundreds of millions of $$ invested).

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Or if one accidentally gets metric unit commands while the other accidentally gets Imperial English unit commands.

  • Maven success (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @10:27PM (#47961941) Journal

    The burn was successful and Maven is in orbit. It looks like the engines were under-performing in some way though and they will have to tweak the orbit some as a result.

  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Sunday September 21, 2014 @10:50PM (#47962019)
    Mars has welcomed a new robotic visitor from Earth.

    After a 10-month journey through deep space, NASA's MAVEN probe arrived in Mars orbit late Sunday (Sept. 21), on a mission to help scientists figure out why the Red Planet changed from a relatively warm and wet place in the ancient past to the cold, arid world it is today.

    MAVEN, whose name is short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, fired its engines in a crucial 30-minute braking burn Sunday night, slowing down enough to be captured by the planet's gravity around 10:24 p.m. EDT (0224 GMT Monday, Sept. 22). []

    • ... why the Red Planet changed from a relatively warm and wet place ... to the cold, arid world it is today.

      If it were Venus it would be easy to explain - menopause.

  • Do we need yet more headlines that say "Mars may have supported life one billion years ago"?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dont worry, Jeb Kerman is on board so all is well.

  • Report just in that the Indian Mars Orbiter has successfully test-fired its engine and has entered the Martian gravitational sphere of influence: [] []
  • News coming in that India's Mangalyaan has successfully test fired it's Liquid Apogee Motor (congratulations) and so a possible collision with MAVEN is very much infinitesimally probable :-) Too bad I can't watch it from my 8 inch dob.
  • 423 million miles / $75 million = 5.6 mi / $ = not bad!
  • in the dark?

  • Hot on the heels of MAVEN, India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan (Mars-vehicle), has also successfully been inserted into it's planned orbit after its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) fired as expected. With this India becomes the first Asian nation to successfully send a Mars mission, and the first nation in the world to taste Martian success in its very first attempt. Don't worry, there won't be a collision between the two probes, we drive on opposite lanes... remember!

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp