After the comet Siding Spring on Sunday flashed at speed near Mars, our armada of satellites reported that they were working normally.
NASA's Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Maven mission, as well as the European Mars Express have already reported this to us. At the time of this writing, the Indian Space Research Organization has not yet reported on the status of their Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) orbital spacecraft, although its orbital location away from sin has also been changed.
There was some potential danger to the robotic satellites during the passage of the comet Siding Spring at a distance of 85,000 miles from the surface of the Red Planet. High-speed comet dust particles could hit some of the hardware.
Although the risk was minimal, all space agencies prepared for the meeting in advance. For example, NASA orbiters were located behind Mars during close contact, using the planet as a shield. For the Mars Express spacecraft, there was a contingency plan, which was that he could use his own high-gain antenna as a temporary shield. However, this plan was never put into action. "The first systematic checks of the spacecraft telemetry were performed for all subsystems and showed full-fledged functioning," said Mars Express Spacecraft Operations manager Michel Denis on Sunday.
“We thank all the HiRISE / MRO / JPL engineers who helped keep the spacecraft intact,” the official said in his Twitter account.
NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, which is the most long-term mission on Mars, also reported good health. Recall that Odyssey has been in orbit of Mars since October 2001.
"The telemetry received from Odyssey on Sunday afternoon confirms not only that the spacecraft is in good health, but also that it carried out planned observations of the comet Siding Spring within several hours of the closest approach of the comet to Mars," said the manager Odyssey mission Chris Potts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Protected by the subtle atmosphere of Mars, NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity Marsholes are also working as usual and were probably the first to report the discovery of comet Siding Spring. Published in Universe Today by astronomer Bob King, a pair of raw images that were sent to Earth seem to contain a hint of a fuzzy drop of comet behind the inevitable noise. Although the image still needs processing, it would be interesting to see the first image of comet Siding Spring taken by the rover.
Siding Spring? The vague object in the center of this raw image from the Opportunity Mars rover may be a comet, but until then there was no official confirmation.