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Unmanned _ ExoMars Program _ TGO in orbit

Posted by: Habukaz Nov 2 2016, 05:18 PM

The latest and greatest on the plans for the CaSSIS imaging instrument:

After ExoMars TGO has reached its Mars Capture Orbit, the intention is to switch on CaSSIS in the week from November 21 to 28 and acquire images of Mars for the first time. A media release is planned on 1 December 2016 when ESA’s Ministerial Council is being held in Lucerne.


The highly elliptical orbit is not ideal. When we approach Mars, the orbital speed is much higher than in our science orbit and the timing will be difficult to get right. Our aim is to get something – we do our best – and learn from what we get.


When should the image be acquired, do we have enough time to rotate the instrument to get the 2nd half of a stereo pair, do we have enough time to get the data out of the instrument before the next image should be acquired? That planning process costs a lot of time and we don’t have many people to help do it. The hard part in MCO is that the speed over the surface at periapsis is much quicker than in the circular orbit so there is a good chance to mess it up.

Posted by: Habukaz Nov 18 2016, 12:22 PM

First images should be from the Noctis Labyrinthus region (western edge of Valles Marineris) and (ideally) form a stereo observation.

There are no specific imaging targets in mind, although near the closest approach of the first orbit the orbiter will be flying over the Noctis Labyrinthus region and it will attempt to obtain a stereo pair. In the second orbit, it has the opportunity to capture images of Phobos.

Some details on what the other instruments will be doing in the link.

Posted by: mcaplinger Nov 29 2016, 02:24 PM

First images:

Posted by: Habukaz Feb 21 2018, 10:31 AM

Instrument testing starts mid-March, routine science observations around 21 April.

The initial phases of science gathering, in mid-March, will be devoted to checking out the instruments and conducting preliminary observations for calibration and validation. The start of routine science observations should happen around 21 April.

“Then, the craft will be reoriented to keep its camera pointing downwards and its spectrometers towards the Sun, so as to observe the Mars atmosphere, and we can finally begin the long-awaited science phase of the mission,” says Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s project scientist.

Posted by: PaulH51 Apr 26 2018, 08:25 PM

QUOTE (Habukaz @ Feb 21 2018, 06:31 PM) *

Instrument testing starts mid-March, routine science observations around 21 April.

TGO returns its first images from its new orbit:

Posted by: antipode Apr 26 2018, 11:56 PM

Wow! If that's anything like what we will see in future i cant wait.


Posted by: wildespace May 6 2018, 06:28 AM

QUOTE (PaulH51 @ Apr 26 2018, 09:25 PM) *
TGO returns its first images from its new orbit:

Any information on what filters were used for this image? It looks similar to MRO's IRB images (with telltale blues and yellows).

Is there a HiRISE coverage of this area?

P.S. If the image is indeed IRB, here's my attempt at reshuffling colour channels to imitate RGB:

I assigned the green channel to red, blue to blue, and the average between the two to green, with some hue balancing to move the resulting orange and cyan to red and blue respectively.

Posted by: Phil Stooke Jun 29 2018, 06:32 AM

Need a TGO-CASSIS image fix? There are 5 here:


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