Mars Receiver Removal (Feb. 2004)

After two hundred (or so) days living in the focus cabin tracking spacecraft exploring our Solar System, the MARS reciever came down today for the first time since installation on August 7th, 2003.

Brett Dawson, David Catlin (Receiver group) and John Sarkissian, Stacy Mader (Operations) were present. Tim Ruckley (Electronics) tipped the dish using the manual controls. Other staff members looked on from where morning tea was taking place!

The reciever was installed as part of the Parkes refurbishment to help alleviate NASA's "traffic jam". The first track at Parkes commenced 6th October 2003. The last track was 22nd Feburary. During that time, Parkes tracked the following spacecraft:

Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity
Mars Express
Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Odyssey
Voyager 2

The two rovers were tracked whilst en-route to Mars.

Below are some pictures showing the extraction of the MARS receiver. Click on images for high-resolution versions. Additional pictures will be added over the coming days, so please check back again!

Compared to the wet and windy conditions experienced the day before, it was a beautiful day...

The dish is slowly tipping over with Tim at the controls. Both Brett and David can be seen at the bottom of the dish. For the whole period of spacecraft tracking, both Brett and David have performed an outstanding job in maintaining the receiver.

Down she comes!

Nearly there!

With the receiver safely down, Brett, David and John secure it in place for transportation to the receiver lab.

Both John and Stacy pose with the reciever. Both were the principal operators during the tracking contract. Although sad this day has come, both manage a smile!

Safely secured, David (driving), Brett and John take the receiver back to the lab. No going over the speed limit here!

Once in the lab, Brett and David put the MARS receiver to bed until required again on the 23rd March. At that time, it will once again occupy a space in the focus cabin and be used for observing objects such as Pulsars and other astronomical phenomenon.

More information on the Mars activities at Parkes can be found here.

On behalf of the Mars team, Stacy Mader

Last modified: Thu Feb 26 16:57:38 EST 2004