This artist’s rendition shows how a Mars lidar could be deployed on a landed mission to Mars. Credits: NASA Insights and technology gleaned from creating a carbon-measuring instrument for Earth climate studies is being leveraged to build another that would remotely profile, for the first time, water vapor up to nine miles above the Martian surface, along with wind speeds and minute particles suspended in the planet’s atmosphere.
Scientists Jim Abshire and Scott Guzewich, both at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, have won NASA technology-development funding to build and demonstrate a small prototype atmospheric lidar for a future lander on Mars, and possibly Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and the only to have a dense atmosphere.
Selected for further development by the agency’s Planetary Instrument Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations (PICASSO) program, the concept traces its heritage to other similar-type instruments originally conceived through Goddard’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program. Another IRAD-supported technology, a Raman mass spectrometer , also received PICASSO funding.
Understanding the Boundary Layer
Abshire and Guzewich are particularly interested in obtaining measurements of Mars’s boundary layer , an atmospheric section that begins at the surface and can extend as high as nine […]
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