The Russian Scientific Instrument HEND starts to operate on US interplanetary spacecraft “2001 Mars Odyssey"


At 16:51 of Moscow time on May 2, 2001, the specialists of Russian Space Research Institute have started to operate the Russian scientific instrument HEND on board of US interplanetary spacecraft “2001 Mars Odyssey”. The conclusion has been drawn after 5 days of continuous work that all sub-systems of HEND operate normally, and all main parameters correspond to the nominal values. The system of thermal control keeps the temperature of the main electronics board around the comfortable value of +19° C. All characteristics of sensors are within the optimal ranges as well.

At the present time HEND measures the variable fluxes of cosmic background of charge particles, neutrons and gamma rays along the cruise of the “Odyssey” to Mars, and it is now at the distance of 8.811 millions km from the Earth.

The instrument HEND (High Energy Neutron Detector) was designed for investigation of elementary composition of the Martian surface and for searching for regions with sub-surface water ice down to 1-2 meters. HEND will detect also cosmic gamma-ray bursts as well as gamma rays and neutrons of powerful solar flares. Instrument HEND is the part of Gamma-Ray Spectrometer facility for nuclear spectroscopy of the Martian surface, which has been developed jointly by the specialists of University of Arizona of USA, Los Alamos National Laboratory of USA and Institute for Space Research (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Science. 


Instrument HEND has been developed in the Institute for Space Research by the order from Russian Aviation and Space Agency, and it has been implemented on the US spacecraft in accordance with the Implementing Agreement between the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

HEND Principal Investigator                     I.G. Mitrofanov

May 7, 2001