The DREAMS Experiment Onboard the Schiaparelli Module of the ExoMars 2016 Mission: Design, Performances and Expected Results

Esposito, F.; Debei, S.; Bettanini, C.; Molfese, C.; Arruego Rodríguez, I.; Colombatti, G.; Harri, A.-M.; Montmessin, F.; Wilson, C.; Aboudan, A.; Schipani, P.; Marty, L.; Álvarez, F. J.; Apestigue, V.; Bellucci, G.; Berthelier, J.-J.; Brucato, J. R.; Calcutt, S. B.; Chiodini, S.; Cortecchia, F.; Cozzolino, F.; Cucciarrè, F.; Deniskina, N.; Déprez, G.; Di Achille, G.; Ferri, F.; Forget, F.; Franzese, G.; Friso, E.; Genzer, M.; Hassen-Kodja, R.; Haukka, H.; Hieta, M.; Jiménez, J. J.; Josset, J.-L.; Kahanpää, H.; Karatekin, O.; Landis, G.; Lapauw, L.; Lorenz, R.; Martinez-Oter, J.; Mennella, V.; Möhlmann, D.; Moirin, D.; Molinaro, R.; Nikkanen, T.; Palomba, E.; Patel, M.R.; Pommereau, J.-P.; Popa, C. I.; Rafkin, S.; Rannou, P.; Renno, N. O.; Rivas, J.; Schmidt, W.; Segato, E.; Silvestro, S.; Spiga, A.; Toledo, D.; Trautner, R.; Valero, F.; Vázquez, L.; Vivat, F.; Witasse, O.; Yela, M.; Mugnuolo, R.; Marchetti, E. and Pirrotta, S. (2018). The DREAMS Experiment Onboard the Schiaparelli Module of the ExoMars 2016 Mission: Design, Performances and Expected Results. Space Science Reviews, 214(6), article no. 103.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-018-0535-0

Abstract

The first of the two missions foreseen in the ExoMars program was successfully launched on 14th March 2016. It included the Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli Entry descent and landing Demonstrator Module. Schiaparelli hosted the DREAMS instrument suite that was the only scientific payload designed to operate after the touchdown. DREAMS is a meteorological station with the capability of measuring the electric properties of the Martian atmosphere. It was a completely autonomous instrument, relying on its internal battery for the power supply. Even with low resources (mass, energy), DREAMS would be able to perform novel measurements on Mars (atmospheric electric field) and further our understanding of the Martian environment, including the dust cycle. DREAMS sensors were designed to operate in a very dusty environment, because the experiment was designed to operate on Mars during the dust storm season (October 2016 in Meridiani Planum). Unfortunately, the Schiaparelli module failed part of the descent and the landing and crashed into the surface of Mars. Nevertheless, several seconds before the crash, the module central computer switched the DREAMS instrument on, and sent back housekeeping data indicating that the DREAMS sensors were performing nominally. This article describes the instrument in terms of scientific goals, design, working principle and performances, as well as the results of calibration and field tests. The spare model is mature and available to fly in a future mission.

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