Planetary Geological Science and Aerospace Systems Engineering Applications of Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing for Earth, Mars, and the Outer Bodies

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Description
Many planetary science missions study thermophysical properties of surfaces using infrared spectrometers and infrared cameras. Thermal inertia is a frequently derived thermophysical property that quantifies the ability for heat to exchange through planetary surfaces.

To conceptualize thermal inertia, the diffusion equation

Many planetary science missions study thermophysical properties of surfaces using infrared spectrometers and infrared cameras. Thermal inertia is a frequently derived thermophysical property that quantifies the ability for heat to exchange through planetary surfaces.

To conceptualize thermal inertia, the diffusion equation analogies are extended using a general effusivity term: the square root of a product of conductivity and capacity terms. A hypothetical thermal inductance was investigated for diurnal planetary heating. The hyperbolic heat diffusion equation was solved to derive an augmented thermal inertia. The hypothetical thermal inductance was modeled with negligible effect on Mars.

Extending spectral performance of infrared cameras was desired for colder bodies in the outer solar system where peak infrared emission is at longer wavelengths. The far-infrared response of an infrared microbolometer array with a retrofitted diamond window was determined using an OSIRIS-REx—OTES interferometer. An instrument response function of the diamond interferometer-microbolometer system shows extended peak performance from 15 µm out to 20 µm and 40% performance to at least 30 µm. The results are folded into E-THEMIS for the NASA flagship mission: Europa Clipper.

Infrared camera systems are desired for the expanding smallsat community that can inherit risk and relax performance requirements. The Thermal-camera for Exploration, Science, and Imaging Spacecraft (THESIS) was developed for the Prox-1 microsat mission. THESIS, incorporating 2001 Mars Odyssey—THEMIS experience, consists of an infrared camera, a visible camera, and an instrument computer. THESIS was planned to provide images for demonstrating autonomous proximity operations between two spacecraft, verifying deployment of the Planetary Society’s LightSail-B, and conducting remote sensing of Earth. Prox-1—THESIS was selected as the finalist for the competed University Nanosatellite Program-7 and was awarded a launch on the maiden commercial SpaceX Falcon Heavy. THESIS captures 8-12 µm IR images with 100 mm optics and RGB color images with 25 mm optics. The instrument computer was capable of instrument commanding, automatic data processing, image storage, and telemetry recording. The completed THESIS has a mass of 2.04 kg, a combined volume of 3U, and uses 7W of power. THESIS was designed, fabricated, integrated, and tested in ASU’s 100K clean lab.