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Proceedings Paper

Measurements from an aerial vehicle: a new tool for planetary exploration
Author(s): Henry S. Wright; Joel S. Levine; Mark A. Croom; William C. Edwards; Garry D. Qualls; Joseph F. Gasbarre
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Paper Abstract

Aerial vehicles fill a unique planetary science measurement gap, that of regional-scale, near-surface observation, while providing a fresh perspective for potential discovery. Aerial vehicles used in planetary exploration bridge the scale and resolution measurement gaps between orbiters (global perspective with limited spatial resolution) and landers (local perspective with high spatial resolution) thus complementing and extending orbital and landed measurements. Planetary aerial vehicles can also survey scientifically interesting terrain that is inaccessible or hazardous to landed missions. The use of aerial assets for performing observations on Mars, Titan, or Venus will enable direct measurements and direct follow-ons to recent discoveries. Aerial vehicles can be used for remote sensing of the interior, surface and atmosphere of Mars, Venus and Titan. Types of aerial vehicles considered are airplane “heavier than air” and airships and balloons “lighter than air.” Interdependencies between the science measurements, science goals and objectives, and platform implementation illustrate how the proper balance of science, engineering, and cost, can be achieved to allow for a successful mission. Classification of measurement types along with how those measurements resolve science questions and how these instruments are accommodated within the mission context are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 December 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5660, Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing, (30 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.580360
Show Author Affiliations
Henry S. Wright, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Joel S. Levine, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Mark A. Croom, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
William C. Edwards, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Garry D. Qualls, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Joseph F. Gasbarre, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5660:
Instruments, Science, and Methods for Geospace and Planetary Remote Sensing
Carl A. Nardell; Paul G. Lucey; Jeng-Hwa Yee; James B. Garvin, Editor(s)

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