The radioscience LaRa instrument onboard ExoMars 2020 to investigate the rotation and interior of mars

Véronique Dehant*, Rose Marie Baland, Nicolas Bergeot, Vaclav Valenta, Lieven Thomassen, Sumit Karki, Khaldoun Al Khalifeh, Christophe Craeye, Leonid I. Gurvits, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


LaRa (Lander Radioscience) is an experiment on the ExoMars 2020 mission that uses the Doppler shift on the radio link due to the motion of the ExoMars platform tied to the surface of Mars with respect to the Earth ground stations (e.g. the deep space network stations of NASA), in order to precisely measure the relative velocity of the lander on Mars with respect to the Earth. The LaRa measurements shall improve the understanding of the structure and processes in the deep interior of Mars by obtaining the rotation and orientation of Mars with a better precision compared to the previous missions. In this paper, we provide the analysis done until now for the best realization of these objectives. We explain the geophysical observation that will be reached with LaRa (Length-of-day variations, precession, nutation, and possibly polar motion). We develop the experiment set up, which includes the ground stations on Earth (so-called ground segment). We describe the instrument, i.e. the transponder and its three antennas. We further detail the link budget and the expected noise level that will be reached. Finally, we detail the expected results, which encompasses the explanation of how we shall determine Mars' orientation parameters, and the way we shall deduce Mars' interior structure and Mars’ atmosphere from them. Lastly, we explain briefly how we will be able to determine the Surface platform position.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104776
Number of pages21
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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