Get the data, model and predict the thermal power consumption
It has now been more than 12 years that the Mars Express Orbiter (MEX) provides science data from Mars about its ionosphere and ground subsurface composition. The 3D imagery of Mars has provided the community with unprecedented information about the planet. Today, thanks to the work of careful and expert operators, Mars Express Orbiter still provides information that supports ground exploration missions on Mars (Curiosity, Opportunity, ...) and a lot of other research.
The Mars Express Orbiter is operated by the European Space Agency from its operations centre (Darmstadt, Germany) where all the telemetry is analysed. The health status of the spacecraft is carefully monitored to plan future science observations and to avoid power shortages.
Operators of Mars Express keep track of the thermal power consumption thanks to the telemetry data. The spacecraft uses electric power coming from the solar arrays (or batteries, during eclipses) not only to supply power to the platform units, but also to the thermal subsystem, which keeps the entire spacecraft within its operating temperature range. The remaining available power can be used by the payloads to do science operations:
Science Power = Produced Power - Platform Power - Thermal Power
The Mars Express Power Challenge focuses on the difficult problem of predicting the thermal power consumption. Three full Martian years of Mars Express telemetry are made available and you are challenged to predict the thermal subsystem power consumption on the following Martian year. If successful, the winning method will be a new tool helping the Mars Express Orbiter deliver science data for a longer period of time.