Space missions and instruments

 
 
 Framing Camera for the Dawn mission (credits: DLR, MPS-MPG).

Framing Camera for the Dawn mission (credits: DLR, MPS-MPG).

 

Planetary Missions

I have been primarily involved in the analyses of data from remote sensing space missions dedicated to the study of the surface and interior of rocky (e.g., Mars) and icy-rocky (Ceres) bodies. I have analyzed data from the ESA Mars Express mission and from the NASA Dawn mission. These analyses have been supported by archived data (PSA or PDS) from previous or concurrent missions, such as the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or the Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor.

 

Optical Cameras

I have been using mostly data acquired by optical cameras and by near-infrared imaging spectrometers. The design of these instruments is such that they can operate in the harsh environment of space, namely with strong temperature variations and high energy radiations,  and with minimal requirements in terms of mass, power, and volume. The Framing Camera on board the Dawn spacecraft, for example, is a f/7.5 telescope with a 1024x1024 pixels CCD. It enabled to image globally the surfaced of Main Belt object Vesta and Ceres at a spatial resolution up to a few tens of meters per pixel. The camera is equipped with a seven color filters wheel in order to disentangle compositional variations across the surfaces of the objects.

Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometers

A visible and near infrared imaging spectrometer, for example OMEGA onboard Mars Express or VIR onboard Dawn, combines a telescope with a diffraction grating as dispersing element and uses two detectors to acquire a matrix for the visible and near infrared wavelength ranges. The spectral resolution is of a few nm per band that enables the detection of narrow diagnostic absorption bands.