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CubeSatTOF: Planetary Atmospheres Analyzed with a 1U High-Performance Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Wurz Peter, FauschRico, TulejMarek,
Project Investigation of the Solar System with in situ Mass Spectrometry
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings CubeSatTOF: Planetary Atmospheres Analyzed with a 1U High-Performance Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectromet

Open Access

Abstract

This paper presents design and performance of a miniature time-of-flight mass spectrometer of 1U size for a CubeSat platform for quantitative chemical composition analysis of thin atmospheres. The atmospheres of solar system bodies harbor key information to answer questions about its origin and evolution, night-side transport, satellite drag including seasonal variation of it, chemical sputtering of satellites, and even the feasibility of earthquake forecast system has been suggested. Highly sensitive chemical analyses with our mass spectrometer will allow to obtain insight into atmospheric processes. We designed a compact multipurpose instrument. Its applicationis discussed for two mission concepts, namely orbiting Earth in a terrestrial swarm configuration or descending through the atmosphere of a planetary object during a flyby. Our measurements demonstrate that the instrument has mass range of about m/z 1 – 300 and a mass resolution so that the heavy noble gases such as krypton and xenon can be quantified in situ. Thanks to its ion optical performance, the CubeSatTOF instrument serves as a baseline technology for future analysis of both the terrestrial and extraterrestrial exospheres.
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