“Europe’s Mars Express satellite has settled into its operational orbit and will begin hunting in earnest for Beagle-2 [sic] on Jan. 7 from an altitude as low as 315 kilometers over the presumed landing area.
The first Mars Express pass is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. GMT (7:15 a.m. EST), with results expected from Europe’s operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, at 15:00 GMT (10 a.m. EST).
Further passes at low altitude, and with a favorable look angle, are scheduled between Jan. 8 and Jan. 10.
A nearly four-minute firing of the spacecraft’s main engine Dec. 30 brought the satellite out of an equatorial orbit, which it entered Dec. 25 after a six-month voyage.
The firing placed the spacecraft into a polar orbit with an apogee of 180,000 kilometers and a perigee of 400 kilometers. Despite repeated efforts to contact it via NASA’s Odyssey satellite and high-powered ground radio telescopes on Earth, the Beagle 2 has not been heard from since it separated from Mars Express Dec. 19.”