Oct 20 2006, 05:32 PM
Spirit is sitting on a region of strong crustal magnetization on Mars. Auroral events have been thought to occur at these regions (as suggested from Mars Express ASPERA-3 and SPICAM data and MGS Electron Reflectrometer data)
Is there a chance that spirit is switched on for some time during the night to look for possible aurorla emissions or something like this is unlikely (due to power constraints)?
Oct 20 2006, 08:43 PM
Well - the power constraints would preclude it for sure - and I'm not sure if they would even be visible with Pancam or Navcam.
Oct 21 2006, 10:50 AM
Some future rover or lander should include a sky-camera, 180 fisheye field of view, maybe a filterwheel with long and short wavelength filters for ice/dust cloud observations, and a broadband filter for nightime work. Optics designed for low f-stop for nighttime sensativity, detector selected for IN-sensativity to @#$ cosmic-ray hits. Nightime purpose to observe airglows (query: what part of spectrum are they known and predicted?>, as well as meteor streams. a rotating "chopper" may be wanted in front of the detector to chop meteor trails into dashes for velocity measurements.
Oct 22 2006, 12:35 AM
As far as power, Spirit had power to spare last Martian summer and did a lot of night sky imaging. We'll have to wait till this coming summer, and I'm sure we'd need some serious cleaning events for the solar panels to get back to those high power levels.
But I'd be surprized if the cameras could see much, unless they were extremely bright auroras. Pancam is very slow, only f/20, so even with the open filter setting you're not getting much light. Navcam is a bit faster, f/12, but has a fairly narrow bandpass in the deep red. I guess that'd be perfect for the red atomic oxygen line, but do we expect that at Mars?
Oct 22 2006, 10:48 AM
Mars Express's observations of mag anomaly related aurora emissions was in the UV.
Oct 22 2006, 04:34 PM
Earth has strong auroral emission in the UV too. What do we expect in the visible or near IR at Mars?
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