The NASA booster that was launched 15 years ago this week carried a name 2001 Mars Odyssey and a hopes for reviving a stymied module of exploring a Red Planet.
Back-to-back failures of dual Mars missions launched in 1999 had stirred an renovate of NASA’s Mars plans. It worked: Not usually has Odyssey itself operated successfully longer than any other booster ever sent to Mars, though during Odyssey’s lifespan so far, all 6 successive NASA missions sent to Mars have also succeeded.
A Delta II launch car carried Odyssey from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Apr 7, 2001. When a booster reached Mars on Oct. 24, 2001, it dismissed a categorical engine to enter orbit. A three-month “aerobraking” proviso followed, regulating delicately tranquil dips into a top atmosphere of Mars to adjust a distance and figure of a circuit in credentials for systematic mapping of a Red Planet.
The year of a launch and attainment played into NASA fixing a goal 2001 Mars Odyssey as a reverence to a prophesy and suggestion of space scrutiny portrayed in a works of science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, including a best-seller “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Clarke (1917-2008) permitted a mission’s fixing before a launch.
Odyssey finished a primary goal in 2004. With steady goal extensions, it became a longevity champion of Mars booster in Dec 2010.
“Every day for some-more than 5 years, Odyssey has been fluctuating a record for how prolonged a booster can keep operative during Mars,” pronounced Odyssey Project Manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “The booster is remarkably healthy, and we have adequate fuel to final for several some-more years.”
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built a Odyssey booster and collaborates with JPL in goal operations.
“In further to a peculiarity of this spacecraft, a clever approach it is operated has been essential to how it has stayed so prolific so long,” pronounced Odyssey Project Scientist Jeffrey Plaut of JPL. “Odyssey was designed for a four-year mission. We’re in a 15th year, and it keeps doing all we ask it to do.”
Some of Odyssey’s critical commentary were achieved within a initial year after launch. One apartment of instruments found justification for H2O ice tighten to a aspect in vast areas of Mars. Another review totalled a healthy deviation sourroundings on a approach from Earth to Mars and in circuit around Mars, gaining information critical for pattern of tellurian missions in what has turn NASA’s Journey to Mars.
Odyssey’s longevity has enabled other feats, such as finish tellurian mapping of Mars both in daytime light and in night infrared emissions.
Each full year of changing seasons on Mars lasts about 26 months, so Odyssey has celebrated a world by some-more than 6 Martian years. These observations have suggested some anniversary patterns that repeat any year and other anniversary events, such as vast dirt storms, that differ significantly from year to year.
Just in a past year, Odyssey’s circuit has put a booster in position to observe Mars in early-morning light. Previously, a booster flew over belligerent that was possibly in afternoon lighting or pre-dawn darkness. Maneuvers in 2014 and 2015 were designed to change a geometry of a circuit with honour to a sun. The new geometry enables studies of morning clouds and fogs and comparison of belligerent temperatures in a morning to temperatures of a same sites in a afternoon and pre-dawn.
In further to a approach contributions to heavenly science, Odyssey provides critical support for other missions in NASA’s Journey to Mars by communication send use and observations of claimant alighting sites. More than 90 percent of a information perceived from NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers has been relayed around Odyssey. Relay support for NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair is common between a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey.