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Title

Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

AuthorsSobrado, Jesús Manuel ; Martín Soler, Javier ; Martín-Gago, José A.
Issue Date16-Oct-2015
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics
CitationReview of Scientific Instruments 86(10): 105113 (2015)
AbstractWe have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4932937
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/185152
DOIhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4932937
Identifiersdoi: 10.1063/1.4932937
e-issn: 1089-7623
issn: 0034-6748
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