Mars weather & Schiaparelli

We saw a tweet this past week from @GNU_Ninja, asking if dust storms might affect the entry, descent and landing (EDL) of the Schiaparelli demo landing module on the Red Planet’s surface on 19 October. We asked ESA’s Jorge Vago, the ExoMars Project Scientist, for a reply. You can get more background on this topic via “A stormy arrival for Schiaparelli?”

Jorge replied:

NO, no problem. The lander has been designed to be able to cope with a global dust storm. In fact, a global dust storm would be amazing for the science package, DREAMS, on Schiaparelli, which for the first time will measure the electrification of the martian atmosphere due to dust grain friction.

On the other hand, the DECA descent camera would just snap featureless, grey images in case of any large dust storm. The dust activity peak is predicted for 29 October 2016. We therefore think it is more likely that a global dust storm may develop a couple of weeks after the landing. We look forward to having an increased dust content in the atmosphere to make DREAMS measurements more interesting – but just not too much so as to ruin the DECA images, please.

MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of 26 September 2016 – 2 October 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of 26 September 2016 – 2 October 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

You can get more background on this topic via “A stormy arrival for Schiaparelli?”

Comments

1 Comment

  • masanori says:

    I think the same reason as the one for DECA goes to a possible(??) picture of descending Schiaparelli taken from the surface by Oppy, in case Oppy really can.

    I have been imagining that it may be quite a thriller to see the very first picture taken from surface of another world by a man-made vehicle, of another man-made vehicle descending (roughly) towards it. I think it will be a memorable picture for Schiaparelli, too. So it’s not a good news that pictures Oppy sends to her team on Earth almost every sol/day show the sky above her looks hazy now. Hope Schiaparelli “shines” brightly enough!! (but again, “just not too much” please, less than the brightness that can destroy the heat shield, please.)

    (No. Let’s not blame Oppy even if she cannot. There are many possibilities which can make Oppy unable to, even if she wants to.)

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