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Investigation of the solar system with in situ mass spectrometry and remote sensing techniques

English title Investigation of the solar system with in situ mass spectrometry and remote sensing techniques
Applicant Thomas Nicolas
Number 120091
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Physikalisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences
Start/End 01.04.2008 - 31.03.2010
Approved amount 2'722'847.00
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Keywords (12)

Comets; Imaging Systems; Interstellar gas; Mars; Mass Spectrometry; Mercury; Sun; Planets; Spacecraft; Instruments; Imaging; Composition

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The experimental space research programme at the Physikalisches Institut participates in several experiments on spacecraft currently in operation. These include

?the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
?the PLASTIC mass spectrometry on NASA's STEREO
?the ROSINA and OSIRIS experiments on ESA's ROSETTA.

At the same time, analysis of ASPERA data (at both Mars and Venus) is continuing while preparations for experiments on ESA’s BepiColombo (BELA and SERENA), NASA’s IBEX, the Indian Space Agency’s Chandrayaan and ESA’s Exo-Mars are reaching important stages.

For HiRISE (http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu), the group is studying the effects of condensation and sublimation of CO2 in the polar caps and water ice at low latitudes. The work involves investigation of structures on the surface using high resolution imaging combined with heat balance modelling.

For STEREO/PLASTIC, we are investigating the composition and temperature of the highly ionized plasma together with Uiversity of New Hampshire.

For ROSINA, the mass spectrometer on Rosetta, we are completing simulations of the outgassing of asteroids in preparation for the asteroid fly-bys in 2008 and 2010. Detection of outgassing would be a major new finding. We are also investigating the remarkable consequences of spacecraft gas thruster firing on the local pressure at a spacecraft.

Energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) arise from charge-exchange. The upper atmospheres of planets are a considerable source of ENAs and arise from the interaction of the solar wind with the neutral atmosphere. We are currently modelling ENA data acquired at Mars and Venus with some degree of success. A similar experiment is planned for the BepiColombo mission for launch in 2013.

A laser altimeter is also being built by the group for BepiColombo under a PRODEX grant. NF funding is being used to support PhD students who are investigating the properties of Mercury and their possible influence on the signal acquired by the laser altimeter. This includes surface roughness, polarization, and opposition effects which can be tested with analogues in the laboratory.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
129932 Investigation of the solar system with in situ mass spectrometry and remote sensing techniques 01.04.2010 Project funding
129932 Investigation of the solar system with in situ mass spectrometry and remote sensing techniques 01.04.2010 Project funding
116189 Investigation of the solar system with in situ mass spectrometry and remote sensing techniques 01.04.2007 Project funding

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