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2022-02-28 Dr Marianna Felici (Boston University)

The MAVEN Radio Occultation Science Experiment (ROSE) 


The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has started orbiting Mars on September 2014.  One of the main goals of the mission is to understand the composition, structure, and variability of the Martian upper atmosphere.  Planetary radio occultation is a remote measurement technique which relies on a particular configuration of the system, where the radio signal passes close to the solar system object of interest while travelling from the transmitter to the receiver; the application of this technique to planetary science has been described by several authors  (e.g. Phinney and Anderson,1968; Fjeldbo et al.,1971; Klioreetal.,2004; Withers, 2010) and used at different planets.  At Mars, the MAVEN Radio Occultation Science Experiment (ROSE) – the 2016 addition to MAVEN’s scientific investigations – aims to determine the vertical structure and properties of plasma in the ionosphere using the spacecraft’s existing radio communications system.  Thanks to its coverage, way broader than previous similar experiments,  ROSE has allowed us to better characterise the variability of the Martian ionosphere.