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In situ spectroscopy at the martian surface - modelling and future instrumentation

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  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Physics


As part of ESA s Aurora programme the ExoMars mission plans to send a descent module containing a rover and a long term base station to the Martian surface in 2011 Included in the instrument package of this rover will be a miniature spectrometer currently in development functioning within the UV and visual wavelength regime This instrument will be used to quantify in situ for the first time the UV spectrum at the Martian surface both directly through the atmosphere and also as reflectance spectra from the Martian surface It is hoped that through analysis of these spectra it will be possible to characterise the hitherto unknown optical properties of the dust suspended in the Martian atmosphere Computer modelling of the radiative transfer process through the Martian atmosphere will play an important role in the testing and calibration of the spectrometer It is planned to create a multi-layered model of the atmosphere through which the equations of radiative transfer are solved by means of the iterative fitting of a delta-Eddington approximation algorithm It is also intended to incorporate Martian atmospheric phenomena in order to simulate the functioning of the spectrometer under conditions such as CO 2 cloud cover or sky obscuration through the action of dust storms or dust devils Study and characterisation of the Martian atmosphere and its attenuation of this region of the electromagnetic spectrum also has important astrobiological implications such as quantifying the levels of UV insolation at the Martian surface with regard

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