ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft software will be developed after nearly two decades, allowing the orbiter to hunt underwater and study its largest moon, Phobos.
Mars Express was launched on June 2, 2003, and was initially made up of two parts: the Mars Express Orbiter and the Beagle 2 lander. Unfortunately, the inhabitant failed to make contact with the Earth after its release and landed on the surface of the Red Planet, which is thought to be missing. The orbiter is still active after 19 years in the ministry, circling Mars.
Now, engineers at Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Italy, are launching spacecraft software. These improvements will allow Mars Express Orbiter to continue searching for groundwater in the Martian region using its MARSIS radio transmitter and effectively monitor the planet’s closest satellite, Phobos. MARSIS today is operated by INAF and sponsored by the Italian Space Agency.
Specifically, according to ESA, the orbiter, millions of miles from Earth, will receive “a series of improvements to improve signal reception and data processing board to increase the amount and quality of scientific data sent to Earth.” It seems that part of the review will streamline processes and communication to reduce the amount of information collected by the internal senses into what is needed.
“Previously, studying the most important features on Mars and its lunar Phobos, we relied on a complex system that stored a lot of high-resolution data and filled the metal memory on the board quickly,” Andrea said. Cicchetti, MARSIS’s deputy chief investigator, and operations manager at INAF, who is leading the development, explains the statement.
“By discarding unnecessary data, the new software allows us to open MARSIS five times the length and explore the largest area in each world.”
So Mars Express will continue to monitor water signals near the Martian South Pole for higher resolutions. Colin Wilson, a scientist, working on the project, said the software “is like having a brand new board on the board … about 20 years after launch.”
“The development of MarSIS radar software indicates that it is possible to update the entire function,” Cicchetti told the Register in a statement.