37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 18 Future Missions and Instrumentation
Poster, Monday, September 5, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Lecture Room 5

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[18.25] Measuring wind on Mars: an overview of in situ sensing techniques

C.F. Wilson (AOPP, Oxford University)

Measurement of near-surface winds on Mars is doubly useful. It is scientifically important in that the near-surface winds control surface-atmosphere exchanges of water, dust, heat, and momentum; and vital for the safe landing of spacecraft. However, in situ measurement of wind is difficult due to the low density of the Martian atmosphere.

There is an unusually broad variety of wind sensing techniques which are viable for use on Mars. Most past sensors have been of the hot-wire or hot-film type; however, dynamic pressure anemometers (e.g. windsocks or vanes) and ion drift anemometers have also been included on past missions. Two further promising techniques being developed for future Mars missions are ultrasonic and laser-doppler anemometry.

We review the current status of sensors based on the different techniques, and suggest which may be most appropriate for the achievement of different science goals.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.