TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 50 (No. 3), pp. 241-245, 1998

Mars Dust Counter

Eduard Igenbergs1, Sho Sasaki2, Ralf Münzenmayer1, Hideo Ohashi3, Georg Färber4, Franz Fischer4, Akira Fujiwara5, Albrecht Glasmachers6, Eberhard Grün7, Yoshimi Hamabe2, Heinrich Iglseder8, Dieter Klinge9, Hideaki Miyamoto2, Tadashi Mukai10, Walter Naumann1, Ken-ichi Nogami11, Gerhard Schwehm9, Håkan Svedhem9, and Kazuo Yamakoshi12

1Fachgebiet Raumfahrttechnik, Technische Universität München, Boltzmannstr. 15, 85748 Garching, Germany
2Geological Institute, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
3Laboratory of Physics, Tokyo University of Fisheries, 4-5-7 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0075, Japan
4Lehrstuhl für Proze§rechner, Technische Universität München, 80333 München, Germany
5Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan
6Universität / GH Wuppertal, FB13 Lehrstuhl für Meßtechnik, 42097 Wuppertal, Germany
7Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
8Satellite Technology and Microsystems, Roswitha von Gandelsheimweg 32, 42897 Remscheid/Lennep, Germany
9Space Science Department, European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, P.O. Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
10Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkoudai, Nada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 657-0013, Japan
11Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Mibu, Tochigi 312-0207, Japan
12Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo, Midori-cho, Tanashi, Tokyo 188-0002, Japan

(Received July 31, 1997; Revised November 30, 1997; Accepted January 23, 1998)

Abstract: In order to unveil the presence and characteristics of Martian dust ring/torus, Mars Dust Counter (MDC) is aboard ISAS's spacecraft PLANET-B, which will be launched in 1998 summer and investigate the upper atmosphere and surrounding environment of Mars between 1999 and 2001. MDC PLANET-B is an improved version of impact-ionization dust detectors aboard HITEN and BREMSAT. It weighs only 730 g with the sensor aperture area of 140 cm2. To improve signal to noise ratios and to precisely determine the risetime of signals, a neutral target channel is added independent of ion and electron target channels. Detectable velocity (v) range is between 1 km/s and more than 70 km/s, which will cover all possible dust clans: circummartian (low v), interplanetary (mid v), and interstellar (high v) particles. Measurable mass range is 5 10-15 and 10-10 g at v= 10 km/s. Since PLANET-B takes an elliptic retrograde orbit around Mars, MDC can investigate particles from Phobos and Deimos with relative velocity higher than 1 km/s. Therefore, MDC can clarify the presence of a confined dust ring along Phobos' orbit and an extended dust torus along Deimos' orbit, and it may answer whether these ring and torus are self-sustained or not. Since the nominal operation of PLANET-B is longer than one Martian year, MDC may detect predicted seasonal variation of the ring/torus structure.


Corresponding author E-mail: E.Igenbergs@lrt.mw.tu-muenchen.de


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