Bonn 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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EP: Fachverband Extraterrestrische Physik

EP 13: Exoplanets and Astrobiology

EP 13.6: Vortrag

Freitag, 3. April 2020, 11:30–11:45, H-HS VIII

In-situ permittivity measurements for characterising amorphic snow and ice for Enceladus Explorer — •Alexander Kyriacou, Pia Friend, Uwe Naumann, and Klaus Helbing — Gaußstr. 20 42119 Wuppertal

The detection of organic rich salt-water geysers on Saturn's ice-moon Enceladus by Cassini is evidence of a subsurface ocean, a possible habitat for extra-terrestrial life. A robotic space mission, Enceladus Explorer (EnEx) from the DLR space administration, has been proposed to land in safe proximity to a geyser and deploy a melting probe to search a near-surface aquifer for microbes. Forward ice-penetrating radar, from orbit and the surface will be crucial to locate the target reservoir, a safe landing position, and identify and localise obstacles for any given path of the IceMole. A tracking radar may also be used to track the IceMole's trajectory through the ice using antennae on the surface and from orbit.

Given the uncertain density and composition of the surface ice and geyser deposit layer, accurate and high resolution localisation would be aided by in-situ measurement of the dielectric depth profile. The concept for a near-field permittivity sensor, utilising mutual impedance between electrodes placed on the hull of a melting probe is presented. Alternative methods, utilising in-ice active transponders and target focusing are also discussed. The performance of these methods are tested using laboratory tests, simulations and field measurements in the Alps. The enhancement of radio-imaging and profiling with the use of the probe is examined with radio propagation simulations.

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