August 3, 2015: Keeping in note that two more orbiters have been sent in the orbit of Mars, including Mangalyaan from India, NASA has started boosting the traffic monitoring process around the red planet, so that spacecraft collisions can be avoided.
The official space agency of the United States has already bolstered the process of traffic monitoring and maneuver planning so that Mars orbiters don’t come to each other.
So far, there have been two new entries in the Mars orbit- India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) of NASA.
The other three are Mars Express from ESA (launched 2003), Mars Odyssey from NASA (launched 2001) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched 2006).
The new traffic monitoring process will also keep an eye on Mars Global Surveyor, which is a 1997 orbiter that’s not working anymore.
More than a number of orbiters, it’s also the type of orbiters that has been a part of the objectives for traffic monitoring.
Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Programme chief engineer, Robert Shotwell said that previously the work on collision avoidance was coordinated between MRO navigation teams and Odyssey, said a report on NDTV.
He also added that NASA will be tracking the orbiters more closely now, saying that there are lesser chances for manoeuvre, but there’s need for management.
Management of Traffic around Mars is easier as compared to Earth as there are more than 1,000 active orbiters along with inactive hardware, which add to the complexities.
As more missions are being planned for Mars in days ahead, it seems NASA is taking the right steps already.