IT Challenges from Mars


Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Dr Helen Walker, Satellite Operations Group,

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Thursday 24th January 2012 – 7:30pm

Oxford e-Research Centre, 6 Keble Road, Oxford, OX1 3QG



ESA’s Mars Express satellite was launched in 2003, and has been in orbit around Mars for almost 10 years. There are seven instruments on the satellite all with different needs and priorities, and the environment on Mars is continually changing (with for example changing seasons and illumination). The software has to allow science to be executed, power to be conserved, and data downlinked. There is a mixture of techniques employed and options will be discussed. The talk will include some of the results from the various missions to Mars.

Dr Helen Walker

Dr Helen Walker is part of the Satellite Operations Group at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. She has around thirty years experience of astronomical satellites, both as researcher and planning specialist. For five years she helped ESA plan science observations on the Mars Express satellite and now works with the four Cluster satellites. She is also Test Team Leader for the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) which will fly on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Event Information

The meeting is on Thursday 24 January 7.00 for 7.30 and ends around 9.00.

It will be held at the Oxford e-Research Centre, 6 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3QG.

Sandwiches and light refreshments are available from 7.00pm.

Meetings are open to non-members and free.