Planetary Sensor Systems

Scientific objectives of planetary sensor systems

 Department Planetary Sensor Systems
zum Bild Department Planetary Sensor Systems

Planetary research is closely linked to experiments and instrument-related activities, including scientific and technical proposals for planetary space missions, instrument design, test activities and instrument calibration. Planetary space projects require autonomous instruments with high sensitivity and reliability that can survive deep space and harsh planetary environments. In particular, these instruments are required to consume very low power, tolerate cosmic radiation, and being as light as possible without compromising their scientific performance. The link between planetary science and the required science instrumentation is provided by the Planetary Sensor Systems Department.

Basically, the department is an engineering group, consisting of engineers and physicists, dealing with the design and development of advanced instruments, sensors, and sensor subsystems for detection and investigations of solar- and extra-solar objects The Department's key objectives include:

  • analyzing scientific requirements and translating them into requirements applying to instruments, detectors, and technologies for planetary exploration missions;
  • simulating and designing instrument, especially detectors, electronics, and optics;
  • developing complex electronics for (ultra) low noise analog and digital signal processing;
  • investigating and designing algorithms and software for signal and on-board data processing;
  • assembly, integration and verification (test), as well as scientific sensor calibration;
  • space- quality assurance at all instrument development phases (A- to D)
  • support scientific test campaigns.

In most of the Institute’s space projects, staff members of the Department act as project engineers, system engineers, and project managers. In this respect, the Department closely cooperates with the industry, which handles most of the fabrication of our instrument-subsystems.

Dr. Harald Michaelis
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Planetary Research
, Planetary Sensor Systems
Tel: +49 30 67055-364

Fax: +49 30 67055-384

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