TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 50 (No. 3), pp. 183-188, 1998

Observations of Mars and its satellites by the Mars Imaging Camera (MIC) on Planet-B

Tadashi Mukai1, Tokuhide Akabane2, Tatsuaki Hashimoto3, Hiroshi Ishimoto1, Sho Sasaki4, Ai Inada1, Anthony Toigo5, Masato Nakamura6, Yutaka Abe6, Kei Kurita6, and Takeshi Imamura6

1The Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, Kobe 657-8501, Japan
2Hida Observatory, Kyoto University, Kamitakara, Gifu 506-13, Japan
3Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan
4Geological Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan
5Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, U.S.A.
6Space and Planetary Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan

(ReceivedAugust 7, 1997; RevisedDecember 16, 1997; AcceptedJanuary 30, 1998)

Abstract: We present the specifications of the Mars Imaging Camera (MIC) on the Planet-B spin-stabilized spacecraft, and key scientific objectives of MIC observations. A non-sun-synchronous orbit of Planet-B with a large eccentricity of about 0.87 around Mars provides the opportunities (1) to observe the same region of Mars at various times of day and various solar phase angles with spatial resolution of about 60 m from a distance of 150 km altitude (at periapsis), and (2) to monitor changes of global atmospheric conditions on Mars near an apoapsis of 15 Mars radii. In addition, (3) several encounters of Planet-B with each of the two Martian satellites are scheduled during the mission lifetime of two years from October 1999 to observe their shapes and surface structures with three color filters, centered on 450, 550, and 650 nm. (4) A search for hypothetical dust rings along the orbits of two satellites will be tried from the forward-scattering region of sunlight.


Corresponding author E-mail: mukai@kobe-u.ac.jp


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