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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Citations (SciVal)


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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