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The MAGO experiment for dust environment monitoring on the Martian surface

, : The MAGO experiment for dust environment monitoring on the Martian surface. Advances in Space Research 33(12): 2252-2257

Among the main directions identified for future Martian exploration, the study of the properties of dust dispersed in the atmosphere, its cycle and the impact on climate are considered of primary relevance. Dust storms, dust devils and the dust “cycle” have been identified and studied by past remote and in situ experiments, but little quantitative information is available on these processes, so far. The airborne dust contributes to the determination of the dynamic and thermodynamic evolution of the atmosphere, including the large-scale circulation processes and its impact on the climate of Mars. Moreover, aeolian erosion, redistribution of dust on the surface and weathering processes are mostly known only qualitatively. In order to improve our knowledge of the airborne dust evolution and other atmospheric processes, it is mandatory to measure the amount, mass-size distribution and dynamical properties of solid particles in the Martian atmosphere as a function of time. In this context, there is clearly a need for the implementation of experiments dedicated to study directly atmospheric dust. The Martian atmospheric grain observer (MAGO) experiment is aimed at providing direct quantitative measurements of mass and size distributions of dust particles, a goal that has never been fully achieved so far. The instrument design combines three types of sensors to monitor in situ the dust mass flux (micro balance system, MBS) and single grain properties (grain detection system, GDS + impact sensor, IS). Technical solutions and science capabilities are discussed in this paper.


DOI: 10.1016/s0273-1177(03)00517-9

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