Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Odyssey in Position to Watch Curiosity!

One of the concerns about "watching" Curiosity land has been put to rest.  The Mars orbiter Odyssey can relay data from Curiosity to Earth in real time, but the other two orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express) will also watch, but will send back their observations at a later time.  Thus, we need Odyssey to know what happened during Curiosity on the night it lands.  But...  There was a fault on Odyssey a month or more ago, and the Odyssey team had to figure out what caused it sufficiently well to be willing to move Odyssey into position.  When something may be going wrong, you don't want to make something worse.  The Odyssey team has been working very hard for this moment - and they decided to try and successfully completed moving the orbiter for Curiosity.  It can watch the landing and beam data back to us.  If both Odyssey and Curiosity are eager to talk to each other, e.g. the data rate is high, we'll get a picture or maybe several on landing night.

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