EU research results


English EN

Numerical, Analytical and Experimental Investigation of Convective and Radiative Heating of a Martian Descent Module


Nowadays, Mars missions are considered in different international programs. Future missions will be aimed at the collecting and returning rock, soil, and atmospheric samples back to Earth. Safe descent in the Mars atmosphere essentially depends on the lander geometry and its trajectory. Therefore the accurate prediction of the flow past configurations like 'front shield + payload container' under different conditions is crucial for successful landing. In addition enabling technologies for more complex mission and for future human exploration, such as the use of aerocapture for orbiting a vehicle about Mars, require a good mastering of flow phenomena including radiation of high temperature gas.

CNES, in the frame of the Mars PREMIER program, focused on such types of vehicles: a Mars Sample Return Orbiter (MSRO) using aerocapture technology to get nto Mars orbit, and entry capsules (NetLander) for scientific analysis of the planet geology and atmosphere characteristics. More recently, ESA with the exploration program Aurora, has also initiated activities with the objective of developing exploration missions to Mars (ExoMars lander, Mars Sample Return Mission). Very recently, the two agencies CNES and ESA decided to group their effort in developing Mars exploration missions. The present proposal will benefits from the project orientations defined by CNES and ESA and from the work already initiated at the INTAS member organizations to support those projects.

The main objective of the project is to improve the physical modelling and understanding of flow phenomena associated to high temperature gas mixtures typical for Mars atmosphere entry. The present project will combine theoretical, experimental, and numerical research. It will address the modelling of the fluid dynamics of hypersonic reacting gas mixture relevant to Mars atmosphere composition with the development of physical models, their implementation in Computational Fluid Dyanmics codes (CFD) and the validation of those CFD codes in ground testing facilities. In addition to the flow simulation, the radiation resulting from the high temperature gas mixtures will be investigated. Futhermore, issues associated to non-equilibrium flows past these Mars entry vehicles and its consequences on the flow and radiation simulations will be addressed.

In more details, the project will address:
- Modelling of gas radiation with the development of emission/absorption models
- Non-equilibrium kinetics allowing dealing with strongly non-equilibrium gas mixture
- Development of advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics codes using previously mentioned physical models
- Creation of a reference testcase with experimental aerothermodynamic data.

Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries


Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA)


Avenue Edouard Belin 2
31055 Toulouse


Administrative Contact

Olivier ROUZAUD (Dr)

Participants (6)

Sort alphabetically

Expand all

Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute


Institute for Computer Aided Design


NIIMech at Moscow State University


Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Problems in Mechanics


Saint-Petersburg State University


Von Karman Institute


Project information

Grant agreement ID: INTAS 2003-51-5204

  • Start date

    1 July 2004

  • End date

    30 June 2007

Funded under:


Coordinated by:

Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA)