Category Archives: Background Information

Marco Polo-R Mission Pages

Mission pages for Marco Polo-R, a mission under study within ESA’s Cosmic Vision Programme. Published on 27 March 2013.

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Science observations with Venus Express during an eclipse

At certain orbital inclinations, Venus Express goes through the shadow of the planet and experiences an eclipse. The Sun-Venus-spacecraft orbit geometry is such that these eclipses occur approximately every three months, and the duration of each of these ‘seasons’ is about one month. Eclipses present a unique science opportunity. As the spacecraft enters and leaves the eclipse, its instruments can observe sunlight passing through the venusian atmosphere, making it possible to indirectly study the composition and structure of the atmosphere itself.

Full article published on the ESA Science and Technology website on 6 November 2012.


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Phobos-Soil mission pages

Background information pages for the Russian-led Phobos-Soil mission, which ended on 15 January 2012 when the spacecraft crashed into the Pacific ocean.

Phobos-Soil (also known by its Russian name, Phobos-Grunt) was designed for a comprehensive study of the larger of the two Martian moons – the first spacecraft dedicated to studying this particular planetary body. The mission consisted of a spacecraft that would observe Phobos and its environment from orbit, a lander that would study it in situ, and a return module that would bring about 100 cubic centimetres of samples from the mysterious moon back to Earth.

Mission Summary

Fact sheet

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