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Miniaturized LIDAR for MARS Atmospheric Research

Project description

Tiny, power-efficient LIDAR to explore the Martian atmosphere

The planet Mars has a complex climate, highly variable and only partly understood. The study of its atmosphere is of paramount importance for understanding the planet’s climate evolution and its influence on potential past and present life, as well as for identifying potential risks its constituents may entail for future human crews and support equipment. Atmospheric LIDARs, a class of instruments using laser light to study aerosol particle size and density in Earth’s atmosphere, could be used to also examine atmospheric dust and ice-based clouds on Mars. However, as LIDAR equipment is typically heavy and consumes a lot of power, it cannot be easily used aboard landers for planetary exploration. The EU-funded MiLi project plans to design a compact, low-power LIDAR that will provide the most precise characterisation of the suspended dust and clouds in the Martian atmosphere to date.


Studying the climate on Mars has been a topic for scientific curiosity since long time already. As on Earth, the composition of the Martian atmosphere is a key factor for understanding the climate, which is of vital importance to enable future human exploration of the red planet. The use of Atmospheric LIDAR to characterize densities and sizes of aerosol with a height profile, is commonly used on Earth. However Earth instruments are heavy and with high power consumptions, which make them not easily on-boardables for planetary exploration.
MiLi proposes to higher the TRL of 3 basic technologies to enable the construction of a lighter and less power miniaturized LIDAR for Mars atmospheric research.



Net EU contribution
€ 486 691,00
Cr torrejon ajalvir km 4 2
28850 Torrejon de ardoz madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (4)