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VEX Science Plan Overview: MTP011, Science Plan,
cndwrld
post Feb 19 2007, 12:52 PM
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For those who want to know more about what Venus Express is doing, I can provide some information on the science operations planning.

I cannot provide any science results. Science data is processed by the individual Principal Investigators in charge of each instrument. It is hoped that an issue of Nature will be done in the near future which will focus on the VEX science results from year one, and we are all looking forward to that.

Cheers-

Don Merritt
VEX Science Operations Center

Venus Express is currently in orbit around Venus, and all systems are operating nominally. The PFS instrument is not operated.

One Medium Term Plan (MTP) contains 4 Command Periods (CPs) of one week (7 days). In total the MTP covers 28 days of operations.

The time span of the MTP011 operations is the follows:
START: Orbit 296 (pericenter on 11 February 2007)
END: Orbit 323 (pericenter on 10 March 2007)


MTP 011 is included in the mission phase #5. This phase has neither solar nor Earth occultation opportunities. It has favourable conditions for observations of the evening terminator. By the end of the phase, conditions for the off-pericentre night side observations will be fulfilled. Main scientific focus of this phase is to provide observations of the evening terminator and the night side, especially clouds observations, mapping of the surface, search for lightning, and nightglow observations.

Since this MTP has numerous case 2 (ascending orbit, from apocenter to pericenter minus one hour) observations, it is proposed to have +Z slightly off-track pointed starting with ~40.000km distance (-4 hours from pericenter). The reason is the following: From the ascending branch we will see Venus first as half disc and by the end of the MTP as a bright crescent. Keeping nadir pointing would result in that the Fields of View of VIRTIS (imaging spectrometer) and VMC (camera) will be more and more occupied by the night side. So if we decide to observe the day side (evening terminator in this MTP) we should point +Z to the middle of the bright crescent. At a distance of 40000 km and in the beginning of the MTP the off-track angle will be ~5 degrees increasing at closer distance and by the end of MTP. However, for the night side observations we would need to keep nadir or even slightly off-track towards the night side.

The following observations are proposed in this MTP:
Seven limb observations (case #7, SPICAV observes star tangentially through atmosphere limb), to study vertical structure of haze layers. This will cover the themes:
o Cloud layer and haze
o Atmospheric composition
o Atmospheric dynamics.

Seven stellar occultations (case #5, SPICAV observes star in/out of limb) that would allow studying north-south asymmetry of the aerosol vertical structure. This will cover the themes:
o Cloud layer and haze
o Atmospheric composition
o Atmospheric dynamics
o Atmospheric structure.

Plasma (ASPERA plasma/charged particle detection instrument) and magnetic field measurements (MAG magnetic field detection instrument) in the evening sector, covering the theme Plasma environment/escape processes.

28 cases 2 (ascending orbit nadir observations) at apocenter and 14 cases 1 (percienter nadir observations) at pericenter are considered, covering basically all science themes.


Further information is available at:
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=64


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helvick
post Feb 19 2007, 06:54 PM
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Very nice update Don - much appreciated.
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ustrax
post Feb 21 2007, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for that Don!
I really hope you appear more often. smile.gif

Doug, why was the Earth occultation observation thread closed?


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djellison
post Feb 21 2007, 12:18 PM
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QUOTE (ustrax @ Feb 21 2007, 11:39 AM) *
Doug, why was the Earth occultation observation thread closed?


It got porn spammed - we locked it away to stop it getting worse, but my ever wonderfull admin team have culled the appropriate memebers account...we just forgot to open the thread again smile.gif

Doug
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ustrax
post Feb 21 2007, 12:22 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Feb 21 2007, 12:18 PM) *
It got porn spammed


laugh.gif
Can't talk about Venus can't we?... rolleyes.gif


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