GETEMME-a mission to explore the Martian satellites and the fundamentals of solar system physics

J. Oberst, K. Wickhusen, A. Pasewaldt, M. Wählisch, H. Hoffmann, K. Willner, V. Lainey, N. Rambaux, Benoît Noyelles, C.L. Poncin-Lafitte, P. Laurent, V. Dehant, P. Rosenblatt, S. Ulamec, J. Biele, J. Spurmann, R. Kahle, V. Klein, U. Schreiber, A. SchlichtB. Foulon, A. Zakharov, L. Gurvits, D. Uchaev, S. Murchie, C. Reed, S.G. Turyshev, J. Gil, M. Graziano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


GETEMME (Gravity, Einstein's Theory, and Exploration of the Martian Moons' Environment), a mission which is being proposed in ESA's Cosmic Vision program, shall be launched for Mars on a Soyuz Fregat in 2020. The spacecraft will initially rendezvous with Phobos and Deimos in order to carry out a comprehensive mapping and characterization of the two satellites and to deploy passive Laser retro-reflectors on their surfaces. In the second stage of the mission, the spacecraft will be transferred into a lower 1500-km Mars orbit, to carry out routine Laser range measurements to the reflectors on Phobos and Deimos. Also, asynchronous two-way Laser ranging measurements between the spacecraft and stations of the ILRS (International Laser Ranging Service) on Earth are foreseen. An onboard accelerometer will ensure a high accuracy for the spacecraft orbit determination. The inversion of all range and accelerometer data will allow us to determine or improve dramatically on a host of dynamic parameters of the Martian satellite system. From the complex motion and rotation of Phobos and Deimos we will obtain clues on internal structures and the origins of the satellites. Also, crucial data on the time-varying gravity field of Mars related to climate variation and internal structure will be obtained. Ranging measurements will also be essential to improve on several parameters in fundamental physics, such as the Post-Newtonian parameter β as well as time-rate changes of the gravitational constant and the Lense-Thirring effect. Measurements by GETEMME will firmly embed Mars and its satellites into the Solar System reference frame.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-271
Number of pages29
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


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