Implementation of the Earth-based planetary radio occultation inversion technique
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- Zhang, S., Ping, J., Han, T. et al. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. (2011) 54: 1359. doi:10.1007/s11433-011-4247-7
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The planetary radio occultation technique is one of the earliest suggested and achieved methods to detect the planetary atmosphere, and has been conducted by almost every deep space planetary probe. The principles, modules, inversion results and primary analysis of the SHAO Planetary Occultation observation Processing system (SPOPs) are presented in this paper. Utilizing open-loop and closed-loop Doppler residual data of the Mars Express radio occultation experiment provided by ESA PSA and NASA PDS, the temperature, pressure, molecular number density profiles of Martian atmosphere and electron density profiles of the ionosphere are successfully retrieved, and the results are validated by the released radio science level 04 products of the ESA MaRS group. This system can also process the atmosphere radio occultation observations of other planets and theirs natural satellites. The implementation of the planetary radio occultation technique is of significance to China’s YH-1 Mars exploration project, as well as for future planetary exploration missions from China.