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Mars Express extends second boom
Posted: Sat, Jun 18, 2005, 3:11 PM ET (1911 GMT)
Mars Express with MARSIS boom (ESA) ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has successfully extended the second of a pair of 20-meter booms that will be used in the search for subsurface water on the planet. Project officials announced Thursday that the second 20-meter MARSIS boom safely extended from the spacecraft on June 14. The deployment was delayed several weeks because of problems extending the first boom: one of the boom's joints failed to lock into place until the spacecraft was reoriented so that sunlight could heat the problem area. Before the second boom deployment the spacecraft was placed in a slow rotation so that the Sun could heat the boom, preventing a similar occurrence. The booms will be used by a radar instrument on the spacecraft that will study the planet's ionosphere as well as probe beneath the surface, looking for traces of water.
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