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MOSAIC: A Satellite Constellation to Enable Groundbreaking Mars Climate System Science and Prepare for Human Exploration

Robert Lillis 1 David Mitchell 1 Luca Montabone 2 Nicholas Heavens 2 Tanya Harrison 3 Cassie Stuurman 4 Scott Guzewich 5 Scott England 6 Paul Withers 7 Mike Chaffin 8 Shannon Curry 1 Chi Ao 4 Steven Matousek 4 Nathan Barba 4 Ryan Woolley 4 Isaac Smith 9 Gordon Osinski 10 Armin Kleinböhl 4 Leslie Tamppari 4 Michael Mischna 4 David Kass 4 Michael Smith 5 Michael Wolff 2 Melinda Kahre 11 Aymeric Spiga 12 Francois, Forget 12 Bruce Cantor 13 Justin Deighan 8 Amanda Brecht 11 Stephen Bougher 14 Christopher Fowler 1 David Andrews 15 Martin Patzold 16 Kerstin Peter 16 Silvia Tellmann 16 Mark Lester 17 Beatriz Sánchez-Cano 17 Janet Luhmann 1 François Leblanc 18 Jasper Halekas 19 David Brain 8 Xiaohua Fang 8 Jared Espley 5 Hermann Opgenoorth 20 Oleg Vaisberg 21 David Hinson 22 Sami Asmar 4 Joshua Vander Hook 4 Ozgur Karatekin 23 Aroh Barjatya 24 Abhishek Tripathi 1
Abstract : The Martian climate system has been revealed to rival the complexity of Earth's. Over the last 20 yr, a fragmented and incomplete picture has emerged of its structure and variability; we remain largely ignorant of many of the physical processes driving matter and energy flow between and within Mars' diverse climate domains. Mars Orbiters for Surface, Atmosphere, and Ionosphere Connections (MOSAIC) is a constellation of ten platforms focused on understanding these climate connections, with orbits and instruments tailored to observe the Martian climate system from three complementary perspectives. First, low-circular near-polar Sun-synchronous orbits (a large mothership and three smallsats spaced in local time) enable vertical profiling of wind, aerosols, water, and temperature, as well as mapping of surface and subsurface ice. Second, elliptical orbits sampling all of Mars' plasma regions enable multipoint measurements necessary to understand mass/energy transport and ion-driven escape, also enabling, with the polar orbiters, dense radio occultation coverage. Last, longitudinally spaced areostationary orbits enable synoptic views of the lower atmosphere necessary to understand global and mesoscale dynamics, global views of the hydrogen and oxygen exospheres, and upstream measurements of space weather conditions. MOSAIC will characterize climate system variability diurnally and seasonally, on meso-, regional, and global scales, targeting the shallow subsurface all the way out to the solar wind, making many first-of-their-kind measurements. Importantly, these measurements will also prepare for human exploration and habitation of Mars by providing water resource prospecting, operational forecasting of dust and radiation hazards, and ionospheric communication/positioning disruptions.
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Robert Lillis, David Mitchell, Luca Montabone, Nicholas Heavens, Tanya Harrison, et al.. MOSAIC: A Satellite Constellation to Enable Groundbreaking Mars Climate System Science and Prepare for Human Exploration. The Planetary Science Journal, IOP Science, 2021, 2, 211 (59 pp). ⟨10.3847/psj/ac0538⟩. ⟨insu-03381683⟩

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