Missions



Since planetary projects are long-term activities, the Department of Planetary Geology will be involved in space missions and experiments beyond the next decade. We conduct instrument operations and planning of the observations, data processing and archiving, as well as scientific evaluation of the data. The ESA mission Mars Express with its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) will be operating until the end of 2014, with an expected extension until the end of 2016. The final data evaluation and archiving will require an additional year. The ESA mission Venus Express will operate nominally until the end of 2014, including data evaluation and archiving, with the option of extending the mission. Our involvement in the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) and Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) of the NASA/ESA/ASI mission Cassini will last until the end of 2017, including a data evaluation and archiving phase. The ESA mission Rosetta will reach comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the end of 2014, with a data collecting, processing and evaluation phase lasting until the end of 2016. The NASA mission Dawn will arrive at Ceres in 2015 and will orbit the asteroid for about a year, with a processing and evaluation phase lasting until the end of 2017. The involvement in Rosetta and Dawn (Rosetta Spectrometer (VIRTIS), Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS), Dawn Framing Camera (FC), and Dawn Spectrometer (VIR) will keep the department busy for the rest of the decade. In addition, the department is involved in the development of new space projects. In cooperation with the University College of London, we will provide the panoramic camera system (PanCam) for ESA’s ExoMars rover, which will launch in 2018 and arrive at Mars in 2020 for a 2-year mission on the surface. The department is also involved in the JAXA mission Hayabusa-2 by managing the science of the MASCOT lander and contributing the MASCOT camera. MASCOT, a Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, will investigate a C-type asteroid and provide geological context for the sample return effort. Hayabusa-2 will launch in 2015 and arrive at the asteroid in 2018. To the ESA JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission we contribute the camera system JANUS, in cooperation with Italian partners, and the laser altimeter GALA. JUICE will launch in 2022 and operate until 2034. Our involvement in these missions also includes instrument operation, data processing, scientific data analysis, archiving and, for ExoMars, rover tour planning. Finally, field studies will be conducted to test instruments in situ, and collect data of Earth analogues of surface processes for comparative planetological investigations.


The department is involved in the following planetary missions: desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-8796/15174_read-37523/


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