Mission control is the place where our mission was probably planned and from where engineers and scientists can run all aspects of our trip to Mars, and control what we do when MARTI gets there. Mission Control Centres are often housed in buildings that look quite dull from the outside, but have extremely exciting things happening inside! It is here that controllers can fire the rocket engines, drive the robot vehicles and see the first images of new worlds, never seen by anyone before.
And all this is done by remote control. The spacecraft that are being controlled might be millions of kilometres or miles away.
For simple missions, such as launching a basic communication satellite, the control centre may only consist of half a dozen PC computers linked to a a series of radio dishes, like this one (left), across the world - a data transmission network.
For more complex missions such as ours, or for the Space Shuttle, much bigger command systems are needed.
These are of the NASA JPL control centre at Pasadena.
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