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VIPRE: A Tool Aiding the Design for Entry Probe Missions

Abstract : Exploring planetary atmospheres uncovers important information as to how our solar system formed and evolved. While remote sensing is extensively used, some crucial observations require in situ measurements by an atmospheric probe. Given their scientific importance, probe missions to Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are under consideration for the coming decades. In anticipation of future probe missions, the software tool Visualization of the Impact of PRobe Entry conditions on the science, mission and spacecraft design (VIPRE) was developed as proof-of-concept to facilitate selection of probe entry locations. Currently, there is no analytical way to identify which interplanetary trajectory from thousands of feasible launch opportunities is optimal for a considered mission concept. The search and decision process for that solution is complex and relies on the intuition of mission designers, who focus on a subset of trajectories to make the trade space manageable. The idea of VIPRE is (1) to generate a multidimensional data cube showing relevant engineering and science parameters simultaneously for thousands of trajectories, and (2) to visualize the data for all entry sites over the body's envelope. VIPRE lays a foundation to make available the data for browsing in a 3D visualization to identify the best family of solutions for a given mission. This paper introduces the validated and verified core algorithms of VIPRE, published on GitHub Probst. VIPRE serves as a basic framework to be used and extended for different purposes. The paper further presents the motivation for the development and algorithms; it explains the computation and data visualization strategy; and gives a list of suggested functionalities to extend and further develop VIPRE to fully leverage its potential.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 13, 2022 - 2:25:14 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 3:03:25 AM

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Alena Probst, Linda Spilker, Mark Hofstadter, Tom Spilker, David H. Atkinson, et al.. VIPRE: A Tool Aiding the Design for Entry Probe Missions. The Planetary Science Journal, 2022, 3, ⟨10.3847/PSJ/ac6022⟩. ⟨insu-03667427⟩

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