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To study extreme conditions related to Dust storms, ionizing cosmic radiation, and extreme cold at night on Mars, the research team of Christophe Craeye, a professor at the UCLouvain School of Engineering, developed antennas for the ‘LaRa’ measuring instrument (Lander Radioscience), which will go to Mars in 2020. The LaRa Measuring Instrument will help research life stability on Mars to help define the conditions that will make the red planet livable.LaRa uses an X-band antenna to communicate with the Earth. The Doppler shifts are measured from the Doppler tracking observations called “Two-way” by comparing the frequency of the radio signal received from LaRa with the frequency of a ground-based reference signal. It is designed to obtain an optimal antenna gain centered on an elevation (angle of the line-of-sight from Lander to Earth) of about 35-45 degrees.On behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA), UCLouvain has developed antennas for the LaRa instrument that will go to Mars in 2020 to study the red planet’s habitability. From concept to creation, the antennas were manufactured in three months – quite a feat! The originality of UCLouvain’s concept: the antennas are produced from a single block of aluminum to achieve lightness (weighing only 132g), miniaturization (hand-sized) and great resistance (particularly to day-night temperature variations of more than 200° C).Prof. Craeye’s laboratory has been producing antennas for more than 15 years, for various uses: road radars, magnetic resonance imaging, tracking objects equipped with radiofrequency identification (RFID) chips. The goal is always the same: retrieve remotely the data sent by a measuring instrument (of a vehicle’s speed, the body’s internal functions, an object’s or individual’s location, etc.).For this expertise, as part of the ExoMars mission, the ESA contacted (via Antwerp Space) UCLouvain. The mission’s purpose is to study the rotation of Mars in order to learn more about the composition of its core and determine whether the planet was/will someday be habitable. How? By means of the LaRa instrument, which will communicate with Earth via radio waves. Thus the importance of antennas: they receive and emit radio waves. By measuring the Doppler effect – the difference between the frequencies of the waves emitted on the way (Earth-Mars) and those on the return (Mars-Earth) – the antennas will make it possible to better understand the movement of Mars and therefore the composition of its core. This is why LaRa is equipped with 100% UCLouvain-made antennas: a receiving antenna and two transmitting antennas (one of which is a backup).Production requirements:Resilience: Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the sun’s rays and limits temperature variations between day and night, which makes our planet habitable. Mars doesn’t have an atmosphere. Temperature ranges from 80° C during the day (when the sun is most intense) to -125° C at night. Not to mention vibrations generated by dust storms.Lightweight and miniaturized: the LaRa instrument will be equipped with multiple components, each for specific use as part of the ExoMars research mission. Its total weight is distributed among its components, which must, therefore, be the smallest and lightest possible.The advantages of UCLouvain’s design:An innovative manufacturing process: antennas of unprecedented shape were created by milling from a single block of aluminum – no welding means increased resistance to vibration and temperature variations, in addition to being extremely lightweight. The receiving antennas weigh 132g maximum, the emitting antennas 162g maximum. And they fit in the palm of the hand. The design’s originality won over the ESA.Exceptional sensitivity: the antennas are capable of capturing a radio signal from any direction, and focus it on the transponder’s electronics – an area of less than 1 cm² in the centre of the antenna – for the strongest possible signal.Applications are being developed in the field of satellite communications. And many industrial collaborations exist in fields beyond space and as varied as medical imaging, radio-frequency sensors, radar, and telecommunications.
… BCB president tells U-17 teamPRESIDENT of the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) Hilbert Foster last Monday urged the Berbice 14-man Under-17 team to represent the Ancient County with pride, passion and commitment during the upcoming Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Under-17 Tournament.The newly-elected president was speaking at a specially-arranged meeting of the players, their parents and team management at the Albion cricket ground.Berbice, Foster stated, was known around the cricketing world as the Home of Legends such as Rohan Kanhai, John Trim, Basil Butcher, Joe Solomon, Ivan Madray, Alvin Kallicharran, Roy Fredericks and Leonard Baichan.Addressing the full house of cricketers and parents, Foster spoke widely on the importance of team unity, personal discipline, hard work and commitment.No form of indiscipline would be tolerated as the management of the team has been authorised to send home players who break the BCB Code of Conduct.The BCB president urged the attentive parents to be positive role models to their children and to instil in them the formula necessary for success.He committed the BCB to invest in the players’ future and announced that 2018 would be remembered as the year when Berbice Cricket was returned to its rightful place as the best in Guyana.Vice-president and Chairman of the BCB Cricket Development Committee, Albert Smith, urged the 14-man squad to work as a unit and to celebrate each other’s’ success.A highly successful cricket coach at the Inter-county and National levels, Smith stated that he was confident that the management team of former National players, Andre Percival and Delbert Hicks, would bring the best out of the teams. Smith also urged the cricketers’ parents to work along with the Berbice Cricket Board as the Board intends to create a working bond among itself, players, parents and the general public.Berbice are the defending champions and they face off today with the GCB Select Under-15 team at Bourda while Demerara clash with Essequibo at the Lusignan ground.
1 Adrien Rabiot in action for Paris Saint-Germain Arsenal and Tottenham target Adrien Rabiot will not be sold by Paris Saint-Germain following his impressive start to the season.Rabiot has struggled for years to break through into PSG’s star-studded midfield and it seemed as though his long-term future would lie away from the club.Both Arsenal and Spurs were heavily linked with the talented youngster while AS Roma also attempted to lure him to Italy.However. PSG kept hold of him, insistent that he would come good eventually despite starting just 42 league games over the past four seasons.And he has made a superb start to life under new manager Unai Emery, starting five of their six Ligue 1 games so far this term.There is also talk of a call-up to the France squad for Rabiot, who is under contract at PSG until 2019 and now very much an integral member of their first-team squad after so long on the periphery.