October 14, 2014

Exploration of Mars in SPICAM-IR experiment onboard the Mars-Express spacecraft: 1. Acousto-optic spectrometer SPICAM-IR

Korablev O.I., Bertaux J.L., Kalinnikov Yu.K., Fedorova A.A., Moroz V.I., Kiselev A.V., Stepanov A.V., Grigoriev A.V., Zhegulev V.S., Rodin A.V., Dimarellis E., Dubois J.P., Reberac A., Van Ransbeeck E., Gondet B.
Cosmic Research

Summary: The acousto-optic spectrometer of the near infrared range, which is a part of the spectrometer SPICAM onboard the Mars-Express spacecraft, began to operate in the orbit of Mars in January 2004. In the SPICAM experiment, a spectrometer on the basis of an acousto-optic filter was used for the first time to investigate other planets. During one and a half years of operation, the IR channel of SPICAM obtained more than half a million spectra in the 1-1.7 µm range with a resolving power of more than 1500 in different modes of observation: limb, nadir, and solar eclipses. The main goal of the experiment is to study the content of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere by measuring the absorption spectrum in the 1.38 µm band. Characteristics of the instrument (high spectral resolution and signal-to-noise ratio) allow one to solve a number of additional scientific problems including the study of ozone distribution by emission of singlet oxygen (O21g), detection of the water and carbonic dioxide ices, and also the study of the vertical distribution and optical characteristics of aerosol in the Martian atmosphere. We present a description of the instrument, the results of its ground and in-flight calibrations, and a brief survey of the basic scientific results obtained by the SPICAM spectrometer during a year-and-half of operation. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2006.