From 22nd August to 14th September NOMAD and all other instruments onboard TGO take a well-earned break! This is due to solar conjunction, when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun, meaning that communication is impossible between Earth and Mars. For TGO, this is when the angle between the Sun and Mars, as seen from Earth, is less than two degrees.
Here the Earth is represented by the blue circule and Mars is the orange circle. When the angle is too small, communication is impossible between any Mars rover or orbiter and the Earth, and so science operations cease. When communication is re-established, science can begin again.
This time it was the turn of IAA, the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucia, to host the science team meeting. The meeting lasted 2 full days, where 18 members of the team presented their latest work on all aspects of Mars science - from instrument calibration to data analysis to atmospheric simulations and spectroscopy.
From 28th to 31st January we held our regular science working team meeting at the headquarters of the Italian Space Agency, ASI, near Rome. In addition to the regular meeting, we also had a full day workshop dedicated to the SO channel plus a 1/2 day workshop on the UVIS channel.
Thanks to everyone at ASI for hosting us!
During the annual European Geosciences Union general assembly in Vienna, NOMAD and ACS held a joint press conference to announce the first major results of the TGO mission - namely that neither instrument had detected any methane, but had determined the D/H ratio of atmospheric water and observed some interesting water vapour dynamics caused by the onset of the 2018 Mars global dust storm. Both papers were published in the journal Nature; one led by Oleg Korablev, the PI of ACS, and one led by Ann Carine Vandaele, the PI of NOMAD.
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