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Science and Technology of Space instrument for the characterization of Martian environment in multiple ESA and NASA missions - Wind Sensor

Total activity: 1
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
133.100,00 €
Start date
End date
The objective of this project is the design of 3D wind sensor for Mars atmosphere in the framework of the MEDA station. The proposed
sensor follows the line of two previous works. The first one is on board the Curiosity Rover, in the framework of the Mars Science
Laboratory NASA mission. This sensor was the result of the collaboration between the Astrobiology Center, EADS-CRISA and the MNTUPC
group, for the REMS instrument. The second sensor, based on a spherical geomtry, has been designed in the framework of two
previous Spanish national projects.
The proposed design for the MEDA station presents multiple improvements with regard to the wind sensor currently on board of the REMS
instrument. Two different geometries are proposed in this project: one with a high TRL, consisting in following the lines of the REMS wind
sensor and adding important improvements, whereas the second geomtry, with a low TRL, is a different concept developed along two
projects, and uses a sphere divided in four sectors. This will ensure the availability of a wind sensor for the MEDA station with high TRL
and also of a wind sensor with a low TRL based on the spherical concept. For both geometries, different improvements are proposed in
the areas of the sensor geometry itself, in the design of the temperature sensing elements, and also in the measurement strategy.
The final choice of the geometry of the sensor will depend on the final placement of the sensor on the rover, a NASA decision. A change of
location to avoid the darkening caused by the rover mast, allows to reconsider the geometry of the sensor as a whole. In high TRL option
the objective is to increase the number of primary sensors to avoid blind zones while increasing redundancy. With regard to the design of
the sensing element, in the geometry with high TRL platinum resistors are placed on silicon dice supported platinum by thermal insulating
pillars. In the case of the spherical sensor, commercial SMD platinum resistors will be placed in spherical sectors made with 3D printing. In
both options, conduction losses to the structure are to be minimized by heating the contact areas with the structure. The measurement
strategy will be also changed to improve the behaviour observed with the wind sensor for the REMS instrument. In particular a constant
temperature operation is proposed, differing then from the previous REMS sensor which worked by forcing a constant temperature
difference with a reference sensor. This change reduces the number of sensing resistors in each chip, thereby simplifying the system.
Finally, the study of the dynamics of the sensor using control theory techniques to improve the inverse algorithm and its dynamic response
is proposed. Control surfaces to minimize the influence of mismatched disturbances generated by the wind, and the use of extended
observers of mismatched disturbances. The application of advanced heat management techniques such as thermal cloaking or using
nanostructured materials containing nanoparticles is also proposed. This is an emerging field that can substantially improve the static and
dynamic behavior of thermal sensors.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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