The only way a safe-landing confirmation can arrive during that first opportunity is via a relay by NASA's Mars Odyssey
Lockheed Martin was recognized for its program performance on subcontracts including the Desktop Institutional Computing Environment (DICE), the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the Mars Odyssey
extended mission operations.
NASA also has two orbiters in operation: the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which uses radar, spectrometers and cameras to analyze surface conditions and weather on the Red Planet; and the 2001 Mars Odyssey
, which is searching for evidence of past water or volcanic activity.
And desktop downloaders are sometimes the first to examine the thousands of gigantic, high-resolution images coming back from Mars Odyssey
(themis.asu.edu) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (hirise.lpl.arizona.edu), hunting for odd landforms or pretty vistas.
Scientists are also looking at communication problems or technical hitches preventing Beagle 2 from making contact with its temporary relay station, the orbiting Nasa spacecraft Mars Odyssey
But the scientists had to wait until Mars Odyssey
was in position and flying overheadbeforemaking contact.
2001: Nasa's Mars Odyssey
surveys the planet's geology from space.
A spectrometer aboard the Mars Odyssey
spacecraft detected olivine in a layer about 7 km below the rim of the canyon Valles Marineris, Christensen reported earlier this year.
Nasa's Mars Odyssey
spacecraft is transforming the way scientists are looking at the planet and recent findings have confirmed earlier suspicions that the radiation on Mars is so intense - substantially higher than in low Earth orbit - that it could endanger astronauts sent to explore it.
Their assessment is based on images and topographic data from NASA's Mars Odyssey
, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, as well as the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter.
* NASA's Mars Odyssey
spacecraft detected huge deposits of water beneath the surface, across the planet - in the form of ice
Thanks to radio relays provided by the orbiting Mars Odyssey
and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), its stereo camera revealed the surrounding landscape to be a flat, sand-and-pebble terrain imprinted with subtle polygon-shaped patterns.