Open Access

Observations of Mars and its satellites by the Mars Imaging Camera (MIC) on Planet-B

  • Tadashi Mukai1Email author,
  • Tokuhide Akabane2,
  • Tatsuaki Hashimoto3,
  • Hiroshi Ishimoto1,
  • Sho Sasaki4,
  • Ai Inada1,
  • Anthony Toigo5,
  • Masato Nakamura6,
  • Yutaka Abe6,
  • Kei Kurita6 and
  • Takeshi Imamura6
Earth, Planets and Space201450:BF03352101

Received: 7 August 1997

Accepted: 30 January 1998

Published: 6 June 2014


We present the specifications of the Mars Imaging Camera (MIC) on the Planet-B spin-stabilized spacecraft, and key scientific objectives of MIC observations. A non-sun-synchronous orbit of Planet-B with a large eccentricity of about 0.87 around Mars provides the opportunities (1) to observe the same region of Mars at various times of day and various solar phase angles with spatial resolution of about 60 m from a distance of 150 km altitude (at periapsis), and (2) to monitor changes of global atmospheric conditions on Mars near an apoapsis of 15 Mars radii. In addition, (3) several encounters of Planet-B with each of the two Martian satellites are scheduled during the mission lifetime of two years from October 1999 to observe their shapes and surface structures with three color filters, centered on 450, 550, and 650 nm. (4) A search for hypothetical dust rings along the orbits of two satellites will be tried from the forward-scattering region of sunlight.