31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 43. Mars Surface: Structure
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Thursday, October 14, 1999, 10:30am-12:00noon, Sala Plenaria

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[43.08] Mars SubsurfAce Sounding by Time-Domain Electromagnetic MeasuRements

G. Tacconi (Science and Space Engineering Group of DIBE, University of Genoa), L. Minna (Advanced Engineering Technology), S. Pagnan (Institute for Naval Automation of National Research Council of Genoa), M. Tacconi (Officine Galileo, Florence)

MASTER (Mars subsurfAce Sounding by Time-domain Electromagnetic measuRements) is an experimental project proposed to fly aboard the Italian Drill (DEEDRI) payload for the Mars Surveyor Program 2003. MASTER will offer the scientific community the first opportunity to scan Mars subsurface structure by means of the technique employing time-domain electromagnetic measurements TDEM.

Up today proposed experiments for scanning the Martian subsurface have focused on exploring the crust of the planet Mars up to few meters, while MASTER will explore electrical structures and related soil characteristics and processes at depths up to hundreds meters at least.

TDEM represents an active remote sensing system and will be used likely a ULF/ELF/VLF ``radar." If a certain volumetric zone has different electrical conductivity, the current in the sample will vary generating a secondary scattered electromagnetic field containing the information about the explored volume.

The volumetric mean value of the conductivity will be estimated according to the implicit near field e.m. propagation conditions, considering the skin depth (d) and the apparent resistivity (ra) as the most representative and critical parameters.

As any active remotely sensed measurements the TDEM system behaves like a ``bistatic" communication channel and is mandatory to investigate the characteristics of the background noise at the receiver site. The MASTER system, can operate also as a passive listening device of the possible electromagnetic background noise on the Mars surface at ULF/ELF/VLF bands.

Present paper will describe in details the application of the TDEM method as well as the approaches to the detection and estimation of the e.m. BGN on Mars surface, in terms of man made, natural BGN and intrinsic noise of the sensors and electronic systems. The electromagnetic background noise detection/estimation represents by itself a no cost experiment and the first experiment of this type on Mars.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: space@ian.ge.cnr.it

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