Mars Orbiting Plasma Surveyor (MOPS) is a microsatellite mission focused on studies of the near -Mars environment and the planet - solar wind interaction. The recent findings by the ESA Mars Express mission further highlighted the complexity of the processes taking place at the planet resulting from the solar wind interaction that strongly affect the
planet's atmosphere. However, despite many previous Martian missions carrying different types of space plasma experiments, a comprehensive investigation including simultaneous measurements of particles, fields, and waves has never been performed.
We consider a spinning spacecraft of a wet mass of 76.1 kg with a 9.7 kg payload, which can “hitchhike” on another platform until Mars orbit insertion, and then be released into a suitable orbit. The spacecraft design is based on the experience gained in very successful
Swedish space plasma missions, Viking, Freja, Astrid-1, and Astrid-2. In the present mission design, the MOPS spacecraft is equipped with its own 1m high gain antenna for direct communication with the Earth. The payload includes a wave experiment with wire booms,
magnetometer with a rigid boom, Langmuir probes, electron and ion energy spectrometers and an ion mass analyzer. An energetic neutral atom imager and an UV photometer may complete the core payload. One of the proposed scenarios is piggy - backing on the Russian Phobos - Grunt mission to be launched to Mars in 2011.
2006. 227-232 p.
Int. Conf. on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, Kyoto, 11-13 October 2005