The DREAMS experiment flown on the ExoMars 2016 mission for the study of Martian environment during the dust storm season

Carlo Bettanini., Francesca Esposito., Stefano Debei., Ceasare Molfese., Giacomo Colombatti., Alessio Aboudan., John Robert Brucato., Fausto Cortecchia., Gaetano Di Achille., Gian Paolo Guizzo., Enrico Friso., Francesca Ferri., Laurent Marty., Vito Mennella., Roberto Molinaro., Pietro Schipani., Simone Silvestro., Raffaele Mugnuolo., Simone Pirrotta., E. Marchetti., Ari-Matti Harri., Franck Montmessin., Colin F. Wilson., Ignacio Arruego Rodrígue., Sadok Abbaki., Victor Apestigue., G. Bellucci., Jean-Jacques Berthelier., S. B. Calcutt., François Forget., M. Genzer., Pierre Gilbert., H. Haukka., J. J. Jiménez., S. Jiménez., J-L. Josset., O. Karatekin., G. Landis., R. Lorenz., J. Martinez., D. Möhlmann., David Moirin., Ernesto Palomba., M. Pateli., Jean-Pierre Pommereau., C. I. Popa., Scot Rafkin., Pascal Rannou., Nilton O. Renno., W. Schmidt., Fernando Simoes., Aymeric Spiga., Francisco Valero., L. Vázquez., Francis Vivat., Olivier Witasse. 2017. The DREAMS experiment flown on the ExoMars 2016 mission for the study of Martian environment during the dust storm season. 4th IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for AeroSpace, 249-255

The DREAMS (Dust characterization, Risk assessment and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) experiment on Schiaparelli lander of ExoMars 2016 mission was an autonomous meteorological station designed to completely characterize the Martian atmosphere on surface, acquiring data not only on temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, but also on solar irradiance, dust opacity and atmospheric electrification, to measure for the first time key parameters linked to hazard conditions for future manned explorations. Although with very limited mass and energy resources, DREAMS would be able to operate autonomously for at least two Martian days (sols) after landing in a very harsh environment as it was supposed to land on Mars during the dust storm season (October 2016 in Meridiani Planum) relying on its own power supply.

ExoMars mission was successfully launched on 14th March 2016 and Schiaparelli entered the Mars atmosphere on October 20th beginning its ‘six minutes of terror’ journey to the surface. Unfortunately, some unexpected behavior during the parachuted descent caused an unrecoverable critical condition in navigation system of the lander driving to a destructive crash on the surface.

The adverse sequence of events at 4 km altitude triggered the transition of the lander in surface operative mode, commanding switch on the DREAMS instrument, which was therefore able to correctly power on and send back housekeeping data. This proved the nominal performance of all DREAMS hardware before touchdown demonstrating the highest TRL of the unit for future missions.

This paper describes this experiment in terms of scientific goals, design, performances, testing and operational capabilities with an overview of in flight performances and available mission data.

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