Bertaux J.-L., Korablev O., Perrier S., Quemerais E., Montmessin F., Leblanc F., Lebonnois S., Rannou P., Lefevre F., Forget F., Fedorova A., Dimarellis E., Reberac A., Fonteyn D., Chaufray J.Y., Guibert S.
Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
Summary: This paper is intended as an introduction to several companion papers describing the results obtained by the SPICAM instrument on board Mars Express orbiter. SPICAM is a lightweight (4.7 kg) UV-IR dual spectrometer dedicated primarily to the study of the atmosphere of Mars. The SPICAM IR spectrometer and its results are described in another companion paper. SPICAM is the first instrument to perform stellar occultations at Mars, and its UV imaging spectrometer (118-320 nm, resolution ~1.5 nm, intensified CCD detector) was designed primarily to obtain atmospheric vertical profiles by stellar occultation. The wavelength range was dictated by the strong UV absorption Of CO2 ( < 200 nm) and the strong Hartley ozone absorption (220-280 nm). The UV spectrometer is described in some detail. The capacity to orient the spacecraft allows a great versatility of observation modes: nadir and limb viewing (both day and night) and solar and stellar occultations, which are briefly described. The absolute calibration is derived from the observation of UV-rich stars. An overview of a number of scientific results is presented, already published or found in more detail as companion papers in this special section. SPICAM UV findings are relevant to CO2, ozone, dust, cloud vertical profiles, the ozone column, dayglow, and nightglow. This paper is particularly intended to provide the incentive for SPICAM data exploitation, available to the whole scientific community in the ESA data archive, and to help the SPICAM data users to better understand the instrument and the various data collection modes, for an optimized scientific return. © 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.