Skip to main content

Volume 50 Supplement 3

Special Issue: The PLANET-B Misson and Related Science

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


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.


  • Akabane, T., K. Iwasaki, Y. Saito, and Y. Narumi, Opacities of the 1973 dust storm over the Solis Lacus, Hellas, and Syrtis Major areas of Mars, Astron. Astrophys., 255, 377–382, 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akabane, T., Y. Saito, K. Iwasaki, and L. J. Martin, The north polar hood in early autumn on Mars, Astron. Astrophys., 304, 595–601, 1995.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clancy, R. T. and S. W. Lee, A new look at dust and clouds in the Mars atmosphere—Analysis of emission-phase-function sequences from global Viking IRTM observations, Icarus, 93, 135–158, 1991.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clancy, R. T., W. Grossman, M. J. Wolff, P. B. James, D. B. Rudy, Y. N. Billawala, B. J. Sandor, S. W. Lee, and D. O. Muhleman, Water vapor saturation at low altitudes around Mars Aphelion: A key to Mars climate?, Icarus, 122, 36–62, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duxbury, T. C. and A. C. Ocampo, Mars-satellite and ring search from Viking, Icarus, 76, 160–162, 1988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • French, R. G., P. G. Gierasch, B. D. Popp, and R. J. Yerdon, Global patterns in cloud forms on Mars, Icarus, 45, 468–493, 1981.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fujiwara, A., Stickney-forming impact on Phobos-Crater shape and induced stress distribution, Icarus, 89, 384–391, 1991.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hamilton, D. P., The asymmetric time-variable rings of Mars, Icarus, 119, 153–172, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hess, S. L., R. M. Henry, C. B. Leovy, J. A. Ryan, and J. E. Tillman, Mete-orological results from the surface of Mars-Viking 1 and 2, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 4559–4574, 1977.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ishimoto, H., Formation of Phobos/Deimos dust rings, Icarus, 122, 153–165, 1996.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaquin, F., P. Gierasch, and R. Kahn, The vertical structure of limb hazes in the Martian atmosphere, Icarus, 68, 442–461, 1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Juhasz, A. and M. Horanyi, Dust torus around Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 3277–3284, 1995.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kahn, R., The spatial and seasonal distribution of Martian clouds and some meteorological implications, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6671–6688, 1984.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krivov, A. V. and D. P. Hamilton, Martian dust belts: Waiting for discovery, Icarus, 128, 335–353, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Malin, M. C., G. E. Danielson, A. P. Ingersoll, H. Masursky, J. Veverka, M. A. Ravine, and T. A. Soulanille, Mars Observer Camera, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 7699–7718, 1992.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murray, J. B., D. A. Rothery, G. D. Thornhill, J.-P. Muller, J. C. Iliffe, T. Day, and A. C. Cook, The origin of Phobos’ grooves and crater chains, Planet. Space Sci., 42, 519–526, 1994.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, P., J. Veverka, J. Bell, J. Lunine, and D. Cruikshank, Satellites of Mars-Geologic history, in Mars, edited by H. H. Kieffer, B. M. Jakosky, C. W. Snyder, and M. S. Matthews, pp. 1257–1282, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thorpe, T. E., Viking orbiter photometric observations of the Mars phase function July through November 1976, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 4161–4165, 1977.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wuttke, M. W., H. U. Keller, W. J. Markiewicz, E. Petrova, K. Richter, and N. Thomas, Properties of dust in the Mars atmosphere: a revised analysis of Phobos/KRFM data, Planet. Space Sci., 45, 281–288, 1997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tadashi Mukai.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mukai, T., Akabane, T., Hashimoto, T. et al. Observations of Mars and its satellites by the Mars Imaging Camera (MIC) on Planet-B. Earth Planet Sp 50, 183–188 (1998).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Dust Storm
  • Mars Global Surveyor
  • Scatter Phase Function
  • Atmospheric Gravity Wave
  • Groove Structure