Mars’ interaction with the solar wind is unique among the planets because it does not have any intrinsic magnetic field. Instead it has non homogeneous crustal magnetic field and an induced magnetic field due to its ionosphere. ESCAPADE is a recently selected (2019) NASA SIMPLEX mission for Phase A/B study. With unprecedented two-point plasma measurements, ESCAPADE will untangle temporal from spatial variability and definitively map out the transfer of energy and momentum that leads to ion and sputtering escape, enabling a much more reliable extrapolation of escape rates to early Mars. Thus, this mission will help us understand the rate at which Mars lost its atmosphere. The mission PI is Dr. Rob Lillis from Space Sciences Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Barjatya is a Co-Investigator providing in-situ thermal plasma measurement instrumentation.
ERAU SAIL is providing a suite of Langmuir probes consisting of Planar Ion Probe, multi Needle Langmuir Probe and a floating potential probe. These instruments will collectively provide absolute electron and ion density and relative spacecraft charging potential. The instruments will also provide measurements of integrated EUV flux in the solar wind.
The mission is on schedule to hold its Preliminary Design Review in July 2020. Further details of the ESCAPADE Langmuir Probe suite will be provided as the mission progresses and meets scheduled milestones.