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Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Mars Background, Part 2 (Mars Geophysical Network)

21 Dec 2010, 03:06 UTC
Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Mars Background, Part 2 (Mars Geophysical Network)
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This continues a series of posts inspired by a similar set of posts at Future Planetary Exploration blog selecting the 5 most compelling missions from the Planetary Science Decadal Survey list. This is the 2nd of 3 reviews of potential Mars missions, building up to a selection from that list (and I've already revealed that Mars will not be skipped in my selection of 5 compelling missions).The Mars Geophysical Network Options Decadal Survey study presents a number of options beyond the Network Pathfinder described in the previous post to study the interior of Mars. The science to be addressed by these mission options includes seismology, precision tracking to measure Mars rotation rate, precession, nutation, and polar motion, meteorology to determine atmospheric effects to the seismology instrumentation, subsurface heat flow analysis, and electromagnetic sounding. Science goals including measuring the structure, composition, and size of the crust, mantle, and core, and measuring heat flow through the crust. For simplicity, only the key seismology and (telecommunications-based) precision tracking capabilities are considered in cost comparisons, although there is ample room for more instrumentation in the landing mass allowances. Because multiple simultaneous seismology measurements increase the value of these measurements considerably, from 1 to 3 ...

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