The MNT group has participated in the design, fabrication and calibration of the wind sensors in three NASA missions to Mars:
- Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS): instrument for Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover): launched in 2011 [1-3].
- TWINS instrument for InSight: launched in 2018.
- Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrument to be launched in July 2020 within the Mars2020 mission.
The thesis is associated with a project recently granted by the Spanish Ministry for Science, RTI2018-098728-B-C33, with the title:
“Instrumentation for characterizing the Martian environment in NASA missions: Wind Sensor for MEDA (conclusion of phases D and E)”
The objective of the project is to carry out Phases D and E of the MEDA instrument (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) for Mars2020. Additionally, work will be developed for new miniaturized sensors working under smart controls, intended for future missions.
The MEDA instrument is currently in ATLO (Assembly Test and Launch Operations)
The main objectives of the proposed thesis are related with the previous project:
- Development of miniaturized sensors for planetary exploration in future missions:
o The MNT group has been developing a miniaturized wind sensor [4-6]. The thesis will continue this work, in particular the design of control electronics, calibration and design of system control algorithms for the optimization of the sensor response (sensitivity and response time).
o Other miniaturized sensors such as heat flow sensors will also be developed using Components Of The Shelf (COTS) + smart controls.
- Participation in the optimization of the calibration of the MEDA wind sensor using the calibration model. This task is done in collaboration with the Astrobiology Center in Madrid (INTA-CSIC) and the Microelectronic Institute in Seville (IMSE).
- Application of data extraction optimization to wind recovery in the different sensors. Improvement of the inverse algorithm in order to provide resilience to the sensor.