Plasma waves and sounder (PWS) experiment onboard the Planet-B Mars orbiter

Takayuki Ono, Hiroshi Oya, Akira Morioka, Atsushi Kumamoto, Kaori Kobayashi, Takahiro Obara, Tomoko Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


For the purpose of observing the Martian ionosphere under the condition of direct interaction with the solar wind by using a RF sounder together with a plasma density probe and high frequency plasma wave detectors, the Plasma Waves and Sounder (PWS) system onboard the Planet-B Mars orbiter has been developed through a proto-model (PM) which are followed by achievement of a flight-model (FM) for the Planet-B mission. The operation of the achieved system has been tested for function and stability in a simulated space environment. The PWS system is equippped with two sets of long deployable dipole antennas with a tip-to-tip length of 52 m. The high power (600 Watts) transmitter of the sounder experiment makes it possible to measure the electron density profiles of the Martian topside ionosphere in an altitude range from 300 to 3000 km in a density range from 102 to 106/cc with a time resolution of 25 μsec corresponding to a range resolution of 3.75 km. Observations of natural plasma waves and planetary radio waves in the frequency range from 20 kHz to 5 MHz are planned in the passive mode operation of the PWS system, identifying all the polarization characteristics together; observations of natural plasma waves caused by the direct interaction of the Martian ionosphere with the solar wind plasma are also a major purpose of the PWS experiment. For these purposes, a wide dynamic range and high sensitivity characteristics of the PWS receiver have been achieved. As the extended function of the PWS plasma sounder instrument, altitude measurement will also be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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