Space Science Reviews

, 214:29 | Cite as

Investigations of the Mars Upper Atmosphere with ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

  • Miguel A. López-ValverdeEmail author
  • Jean-Claude Gerard
  • Francisco González-Galindo
  • Ann-Carine Vandaele
  • Ian Thomas
  • Oleg Korablev
  • Nikolai Ignatiev
  • Anna Fedorova
  • Franck Montmessin
  • Anni Määttänen
  • Sabrina Guilbon
  • Franck Lefevre
  • Manish R. Patel
  • Sergio Jiménez-Monferrer
  • Maya García-Comas
  • Alejandro Cardesin
  • Colin F. Wilson
  • R. T. Clancy
  • Armin Kleinböhl
  • Daniel J. McCleese
  • David M. Kass
  • Nick M. Schneider
  • Michael S. Chaffin
  • José Juan López-Moreno
  • Julio Rodríguez
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. ExoMars-16


The Martian mesosphere and thermosphere, the region above about 60 km, is not the primary target of the ExoMars 2016 mission but its Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) can explore it and address many interesting issues, either in-situ during the aerobraking period or remotely during the regular mission. In the aerobraking phase TGO peeks into thermospheric densities and temperatures, in a broad range of latitudes and during a long continuous period. TGO carries two instruments designed for the detection of trace species, NOMAD and ACS, which will use the solar occultation technique. Their regular sounding at the terminator up to very high altitudes in many different molecular bands will represent the first time that an extensive and precise dataset of densities and hopefully temperatures are obtained at those altitudes and local times on Mars. But there are additional capabilities in TGO for studying the upper atmosphere of Mars, and we review them briefly. Our simulations suggest that airglow emissions from the UV to the IR might be observed outside the terminator. If eventually confirmed from orbit, they would supply new information about atmospheric dynamics and variability. However, their optimal exploitation requires a special spacecraft pointing, currently not considered in the regular operations but feasible in our opinion. We discuss the synergy between the TGO instruments, specially the wide spectral range achieved by combining them. We also encourage coordinated operations with other Mars-observing missions capable of supplying simultaneous measurements of its upper atmosphere.


Mars ExoMars NOMAD ACS Upper atmosphere Aerobraking Airglow Remote sounding 



The IAA/CSIC team has been supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020-Compet-08-2014) under grant agreement UPWARDS-633127, by CSIC Proyecto Intramural 201450E022 and by the Plan Nacional del Espacio ESP2015-65064-C2-1-P (MINECO/FEDER). This research was partly supported by the SCOOP/BRAIN program of the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). We acknowledge the work of Sabrina Guilbon during her Master internship at LATMOS on the development of the technique to compare the slant profiles of SPICAM and the LMD GCM. M.R.P. thanks UKSA for support under grant ST/I003061/1 and ST/P001262/1. C.F.W. acknowledges funding support from the UK Space Agency. Work by A.K., D.J.MC. and D.M.K. at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology was performed under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. OK, NI and AF thanks funding from Roscosmos for the ACS operation support and science funding from The Federal Agency of scientific organization (Planeta No. 0028-2014-0004).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel A. López-Valverde
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Claude Gerard
    • 2
  • Francisco González-Galindo
    • 1
  • Ann-Carine Vandaele
    • 3
  • Ian Thomas
    • 3
  • Oleg Korablev
    • 4
  • Nikolai Ignatiev
    • 4
  • Anna Fedorova
    • 4
  • Franck Montmessin
    • 5
  • Anni Määttänen
    • 5
  • Sabrina Guilbon
    • 5
  • Franck Lefevre
    • 6
  • Manish R. Patel
    • 7
  • Sergio Jiménez-Monferrer
    • 1
  • Maya García-Comas
    • 1
  • Alejandro Cardesin
    • 8
  • Colin F. Wilson
    • 9
  • R. T. Clancy
    • 10
  • Armin Kleinböhl
    • 11
  • Daniel J. McCleese
    • 11
  • David M. Kass
    • 11
  • Nick M. Schneider
    • 12
  • Michael S. Chaffin
    • 12
  • José Juan López-Moreno
    • 1
  • Julio Rodríguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofìsica de Andalucía/CSICGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Physique Atmosphérique et PlanétaireUniversité de LiègeLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.IASBBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.IKIMoscowRussia
  5. 5.LATMOS/IPSLUVSQ Université Paris-Saclay, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, CNRSGuyancourtFrance
  6. 6.LATMOS/IPSLUPMC Univ. Paris 06 Sorbonne Universités, UVSQ, CNRSParisFrance
  7. 7.Open UniversityMilton-KeynesUK
  8. 8.ESACMadridSpain
  9. 9.Physics DepartmentOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  10. 10.Space Science InstituteBoulderUSA
  11. 11.JPLCaltechPasadenaUSA
  12. 12.LASPBoulderUSA

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