New Interface for Accessing Archived European Space Agency Planetary Science Data, Such as the New Venus Express Atmospheric Drag Experiment Data Set
Abstract:All Venus Express (VEX) instruments delivered their data products according to the Planetary Data System version 3 (PDS3) standard, and the atmospheric drag experiment (ADE) data was no exception. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planetary Science Archive (PSA), which can be accessed at www.rssd.esa.int/PSA, is being upgraded to make PDS4 data available from newer missions such as ExoMars and BepiColombo. Thus, the PSA development team has been working to ensure that the legacy PDS3 data will be accessible via the new interface as well. We will preview some of the new methods of accessing legacy VEX data via the new interface, with a focus being placed on the ADE data set. We will show how the ADE data can be accessed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and our plans for making this and other data sets compatible with the Virtual European Solar and Planetary Access (VESPA) project for creating a virtual observatory.
From February 2010 through March 2014, ESA’s Venus Express mission conducted 11 ADE campaigns. During these observation campaigns, VEX’s pericenter was in the range of 165 to 190 km, while the spacecraft was near Venus’ North pole, and the entire spacecraft was used to make in situ measurements of the atmospheric density. This was done by rotating the solar panels in a manner that somewhat resembles a windmill. Also, VEX ‘s attitude and orbit control system was tasked with maintaining the spacecraft in a 3-axis stabilized mode during these pericenter passes. The torques that the reaction wheels had to exert to maintain this attitude were then analyzed to yield density readings.