- Open Access
The Planet-B neutral gas mass spectrometer
Earth, Planets and Space volume 50, pages 785–792 (1998)
The Planet-B neutral gas mass spectrometer is designed for in-situ measurements of the gas composition in the upper atmosphere of Mars. The sensor uses a dual frequency quadrupole mass analyzer with a mass range of 1–60 amu (atomic mass units) and two electron multipliers to cover the dynamic range required. The ion source, which is collinear with the analyzer, operates in two different modes: 1) a closed source mode measuring non-surface reactive neutral species that have thermally accommodated to the gas inlet walls; and 2) an open source mode measuring chemically surface active species by direct beaming with no surface collisions. The in-line Retarding Potential Analysis (RPA) system selects the mode of operation. An onboard Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is used to control the instrument operating parameters in accordance with pre-programmed sequences and to package the telemetry data. The sensor is sealed and maintained in a vacuum prior to launch and will be opened to the environment of Mars after orbit insertion. Measurements of He, N, O, CO, N2, NO, O2, Ar, and CO2 will be done at periapsis and the data will be used to determine the variation of the neutral atmosphere density and temperature with altitude, local solar time and season. Measurements are possible from 130–140 km to 500 km depending on the gas species, chemical background, and instrument measurement mode. The data will contribute to the studies of thermosphere energetics, lower atmosphere meteorology (e.g. dust storms) and serve as a resource for studies of the interaction of the upper atmosphere with the solar wind.
Bougher, S. W. and H. Shinagawa, The Mars thermosphere-ionosphere: Predictions for the arrival of Planet-B, Earth Planets Space, 50, 247–257, 1998.
Bougher, S. W., R. G. Roble, E. C. Ridley, and R. E. Dickinson, The Mars thermosphere 2. General circulation with coupled dynamics and composition, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 14811–14827, 1990.
Bougher, S. W., J. R. Murphy, and R. M. Haberle, Dust storm impacts on the Mars upper atmosphere, Adv. Space Res., 19(8), 1255–1260, 1997.
Grebowsky, J. M., W. T. Kasprzak, R. E. Hartle, and T. M. Donahue, A new look at Venus’ thermosphere H distribution, Adv. Space Res., 17, (11)191–(11)195, 1995.
Hanson, W. B., S. Sanatani, and D. R. Zuccaro, The Martian ionosphere as observed by the Viking retarding potential analyzers, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 4351–4363, 1977.
Hunten, D. M., Atmospheric evolution of the terrestrial planets, Science, 259, 915–920, 1993.
Joselyn, J. A., J. B. Anderson, H. Coffey, K. Harvey, D. Hathaway, G. Heckman, E. Hildner, W. Mende, K. Schatten, R. Thompson, A. W. P. Thomson, and O. R. White, Panel achieves consensus prediction of solar cycle 23, EOS Transactions AGU, 78(20), 205, 211–212, 1997.
Kasprzak, W. T., A. E. Hedin, H. B. Niemann, and N. W. Spencer, Atomic nitrogen in the upper atmosphere of Venus, Geophys. Res. Lett., 7, 106–108, 1980.
Kasprzak, W. T., A. E. Hedin, H. G. Mayr, and H. B. Niemann, Wavelike perturbations in the neutral thermosphere of Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 93, 11237–11245, 1988.
Kasprzak, W. T., H. B. Niemann, A. E. Hedin, and S. W. Bougher, Wavelike perturbations observed at low altitudes by the Pioneer Venus orbiter neutral mass spectrometer during orbiter entry, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 2755–2758, 1993a.
Kasprzak, W. T., H. B. Niemann, A. E. Hedin, S. W. Bougher, and D. M. Hunten, Neutral composition measurements by the Pioneer Venus neutral mass spectrometer during re-entry, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 2747–2750, 1993b.
Krasnopolsky, V. A., S. Bowyer, S. Chakrabarti, G. R. Gladstone, and J. S. McDonald, First measurement of helium on Mars: Implications for the problem of radiogenic gases on the terrestrial planets, Icarus, 109, 337–351, 1994.
Luhmann, J. G., W. T. Kasprzak, and J. M. Grebowsky, On removing molecular ions from Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 14515–14521, 1995.
Lundin, R., A. Zakharov, R. Pellinen, H. Borg, B. Hultqvist, N. Pissarenko, E. M. Dubinin, S. W. Barabasj, I. Liede, and H. Koskinen, First mea surements of the ionospheric plasma escape from Mars, Nature, 341, 609–612, 1989.
Mayr, H. G., I. Harris, H. B. Niemann, H. C. Brinton, N. W. Spencer, H. A. Taylor, Jr., R. E. Hartle, and W. R. Hoegy, Dynamic properties of the ther-mosphere inferred from Pioneer Venus mass spectrometer measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 7841–7847, 1980.
Nagy, A. F., J. Kim, and T. E. Cravens, Hot hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the upper atmospheres of Venus and Mars, Ann. Geophys., 8, 251–256, 1990.
Niemann, H. B., J. R. Booth, J. E. Cooley, R. E. Hartle, W. T. Kasprzak, N. W. Spencer, S. H. Way, D. M. Hunten, and G. R. Carignan, Pioneer Venus orbiter neutral gas mass spectrometer experiment, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing, GE-18, No. 1, 60–65, 1980a.
Niemann, H. B., W. T. Kasprzak, A. E. Hedin, D. M. Hunten, and N. W. Spencer, Mass spectrometric measurements of the neutral gas composition of the thermosphere and exosphere of Venus, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 7817–7827, 1980b.
Nier, A. O. and M. B. McElroy, Composition and structure of Mars’ upper atmosphere: Results from the neutral mass spectrometers on Viking 1 and 2, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 4341–4349, 1977.
Planet-B Interim Report, SES-TD-94-022, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, SES Data Center, February, 1995.
Rodrigo, R., E. Garcia-Alvarez, M. J. Lopez-Gonzalez, and J. J. Lopez-Moreno, A non-steady one-dimensional theoretical model of Mars’ neutral atmospheric composition between 30 and 200 km, J. Geophys. Res.,95, 14795–14810, 1990.
Schatten, K. H. and W. D. Pesnell, An early solar dynamo prediction: cycle 23 ~ cycle 22, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 2275–2278, 1993.
Stewart, A. I., Mariner 6 and 7 ultraviolet spectrometer experiment: Implications of CO +2 , CO, and O airglow, J. Geophys. Res., 77, 54–68, 1972.
About this article
Cite this article
Niemann, H.B., Harpold, D.N., Feng, S. et al. The Planet-B neutral gas mass spectrometer. Earth Planet Sp 50, 785–792 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03352170
- Solar Wind
- Dust Storm
- Field Programmable Gate Array
- Neutral Atmosphere
- High Solar Activity