European Space Agency’s first-ever Mars livestream interrupted by rain
The European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft celebrated its 20th anniversary with a historic first-of-its-kind livestream from the red planet. However, the broadcast was constantly interrupted by rain – from Earth. The stunning views from the Mars Express took about 17 minutes to transmit back from Mars, which is some 200 million miles away, and another minute to go through stations on Earth, which had to deal with earthly elements. Despite the interruptions, a number of images from the red planet made it through, and white clouds were visible in some shots.
The Mars Express typically snaps and stores its images before transmitting them back to researchers at the ESA when the spacecraft’s antenna is pointed toward Earth. Transmission of near real-time images from space is “rather rare,” according to the agency. The groundbreaking 1969 broadcast of the first moon landing was noted along with more recent events.
The livestream lasted only an hour because the ESA did not want to overload the spacecraft’s batteries. Mars Express had traveled to the red planet with a lander, dubbed Beagle-2, but the landing craft lost contact with Earth as it attempted to touch down on the Martian surface. More than a decade later, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured pictures of Beagle-2 on the Martian surface, though its solar panels didn’t fully unfurl.
– What is the Mars Express spacecraft and what was the purpose of its livestream?
The Mars Express spacecraft is a probe launched by the European Space Agency in 2003 to study the planet Mars. The livestream was conducted to commemorate the spacecraft’s 20th anniversary and featured stunning views of the planet.
– Why was the livestream constantly interrupted?
The livestream was constantly interrupted by rain from Earth, which affected the deep space-relay antenna in Spain.
– Did any images from the red planet make it through the interruptions?
Despite the interruptions, a number of images from the red planet were still visible in the livestream, with white clouds visible in some shots.
– Why was the livestream only an hour long?
The livestream was only an hour long because the ESA did not want to overload the spacecraft’s batteries.
– What happened to the Beagle-2 lander that the Mars Express traveled with?
While the Beagle-2 lander made it to the surface of Mars, it lost contact with Earth as it attempted to touch down. More than a decade later, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured pictures of Beagle-2, though its solar panels didn’t fully unfurl.
Rain interrupts European Space Agency’s inaugural Mars live broadcast
The European Space Agency (ESA) has broadcast a first-of-its-kind livestream from Mars, marking the spacecraft’s 20th anniversary. Launched via a Russian rocket in Kazakhstan in 2003, the Mars Express transmitted stunning views of Earth’s neighbouring planet. However, the deep space-relay antenna in Spain was frequently interrupted by earthly elements, including rainy weather. White clouds were visible in some shots, while initial images showed about a third of Mars, which gradually grew bigger in the frame as the spacecraft orbited the planet. Livestreaming deep space images is rare, according to the ESA.