ASPERA-3: Analyser of space plasmas and energetic ions for mars express

S. Barabash, R. Lundin, H. Andersson, J. Gimholt, M. Holmström, O. Norberg, M. Yamauchi, K. Asamura, A. J. Coates, D. R. Linder, D. O. Kataria, C. C. Curtis, K. C. Hsieh, B. R. Sandel, A. Fedorov, A. Grigoriev, E. Budnik, M. Grande, M. Carter, D. H. ReadingH. Koskinen, E. Kallio, P. Riihela, T. Säles, J. Kozyra, N. Krupp, S. Livi, J. Woch, J. Luhmann, S. McKenna-Lawlor, S. Orsini, R. Cerulli-Irelli, M. Maggi, A. Morbidini, A. Mura, A. Milillo, E. Roelof, D. Williams, J. A. Sauvaud, J. J. Thocaven, T. Moreau, D. Winningham, R. Frahm, J. Scherrer, J. Sharber, P. Wurz, P. Bochsler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ASPERA-3 (Analyser of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms) instrument of Mars Express is designed to study the solar wind-Mars atmosphere interaction and to characterise the plasma and neutral gas environment in near-Mars space through energetic neutral atom (ENA) imaging and local charged-particle measurements. The studies address the fundamental question: how strongly do the interplanetary plasma and electromagnetic fields affect the martian atmosphere? This question is directly related to the problem of martian dehydration. The instrument comprises four sensors; two ENA sensors, and electron and ion spectrometers. The Neutral Particle Imager (NPI) measures the integral ENA flux (0.1-60 keV) with no mass and energy resolution but with high angular resolution. The Neutral Particle Detector (NPD) measures the ENA flux, resolving energy (0.1-10 keV) and mass (H and O) with a coarse angular resolution. The electron spectrometer (ELS) is a standard top-hat electrostatic analyser of a very compact design. These three sensors are mounted on a scanning platform providing 4π coverage. The instrument includes an ion mass composition sensor, IMA (Ion Mass Analyser). Mechanically, IMA is a separate unit connected by a cable to the ASPERA-3 main unit. IMA provides ion measurements in the energy range 0.01-40 keV/q for the main ion components H+, He 2+, He+O+ with 20-80 amu/g.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number1240
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


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