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Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW)

NSSDCA ID: 2013-063A-04

Mission Name: Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN)
Principal Investigator:Dr. Robert E. Ergun


The Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) instrument is designed to study ionospheric properties, wave heating of the upper atmosphere, and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) input to the atmosphere. LPW has two components: a set of two 7-meter booms to measure in-situ electron temperature and density, and an EUV sensor to measure three channels of EUV: Lyman Alpha, solar corona, and hot corona.

Each boom tip has a sensor comprising a 0.5 meter titanium nitride coated cylindrical whip antenna and a pre-amp. The booms are mounted to the spacecraft body and contain 10-conductor cable. The LPW has a sweep range of +-50 V with 128 points per sweep. Current measurement range is 0.2 mA with a resolution of 3.1 nA. The range of the electric field measurement is +- 1 V/m with a resolution of 0.3 mV/m. Low frequency electric field measurements cover 0.05 Hz - 10 Hz, high frequency from 90 kHz to 1.6 MHz. Electron measurements are made every 2 seconds near periapsis.

The EUV sensor is mounted on the top panel facing the Sun within 2 degrees of the boresite with a pointing knowledge of 0.05 degrees. The instrument is a photometer with three channels: 0.1 - 7 nm, 17 - 22 nm, and 121.6 nm. Data is collected nearly continuously, consisting of analog currents and EUV temperatures, from which the irradiance can be determined.

Image courtesy NASA/LASP

Alternate Names


    • Planetary Science: Atmospheres

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



    NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
    Dr. Robert E. ErgunLead InvestigatorUniversity of
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