MetNet is the name of a Martian mission, concerning atmospheric research. It is a project of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Within this mission, several tens of landers are intended to be sent on Mars. The purpose of this mission is to investigate the structure, meteorology and physics of the planetâ€™s atmosphere by the means of an observation network widely spread on the Martian surface.
Concept and goals
It is known that climatology and meteorology are not constant in time and space, so to get exact measurements they need to be monitored simultaneously in different locations over a long period of time. The MetNet mission intends to realize surface probes from different points, all connected in a global-scale network with the support of a satellite in orbit during 2 Martian years. In order to rightly observe the atmospheric phenomena of the entire planet, a minimum of ten up to twenty points of observation are needed.
Compared to older landing devices, the Lander of the MetNet mission is going to use inflatable systems for entry and descent, opposed to the old parachutes and heat shields. Thus this system optimizes the payload mass related to overall mass. The atmospheric descent of the Lander is a two phase process. The first phase is the deceleration using the Inflatable Braking Unit. The second deceleration phase uses the Additional Braking Unit. The Lander would operate seven years on the surface of Mars.
The vehicle to descend on Mars is perfectly qualified for the conditions of the planetâ€™s surface. The launch is due to 2011, preceded by another mission which involves another lander.