Concepts for a low-cost Mars micro mission

Walker, R. J.; Ball, A. J.; Price, M. E.; Sims, M. R.; Taylor, F. W.; Wells, N. S. and Zarnecki, J. C. (2006). Concepts for a low-cost Mars micro mission. Acta Astronautica, 59(8-11) pp. 617–626.



This paper summarises three novel micro-mission concepts for the low-cost exploration of the Martian system. These concepts have been studied under national funding with the aim of defining highly cost-effective options for the delivery of on-board instrumentation into Mars orbit for remote sensing or deployment of lander packages for surface exploration of the Martian system. All three missions use advanced electric propulsion to improve payload mass performance and miniaturised avionics either in the spacecraft bus or payload. Broadly, the three concepts are categorised according to mass: a constellation of micro-satellites (120kg) in low Mars polar orbit for global atmospheric circulation/climate monitoring using radio occultation techniques; a single mini-satellite (310kg) for studying composition and origins of Mars' moons Deimos and Phobos; and a single larger spacecraft (800kg) based on a standard launcher adapter cone and carrying multiple micro-penetrators for measuring sub-surface water ice composition at pre-determined locations on the surface of Mars. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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