- Planetary atmospheres and surfaces: the study of the possible methane sources and its transport in the atmosphere is one of the objectives. This leads to develop the Martian atmosphere model, with the production and the transport of major as minor species of the atmosphere. The study and the interpretation of the VIS and IR spectra of the planetary surfaces measured by the space experiments is another objective. We are working on the analysis of the radiation transfer equations in the VIS and IR spectral ranges and on the numerical simulations of the transmittance and radiance of the atmospheres loaded with gases, aerosols and dust and influenced by the surface optical parameters. We obtain references data by modeling and analysis of the reflectance and emissivity measured in laboratory. The data from space missions (e.g. TGO, MRO, MarsExpress) are used to compare models with observations.
- Planetary geology: The main axis of research is the volcanic, tectonic, and hydrothermal characterization and evolution of Mars using all the relevant orbital datasets: Mars Express (PFS, OMEGA, HRSC), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (HiRISE, CTX, CRISM, SHARAD), Mars Odyssey (THEMIS), and ExoMars TGO (CaSSIS, NOMAD, FREND). We are currently especially focused on the potential sources of trace gas emissions from the crust released to the atmosphere, detected by some sensors but not others. Another strong axis is comparative planetary geology, with the study of terrestrial analogues of the studied regions on Mars in the field and with orbital data. Developing innovative concepts for geological exploration of planetary bodies is another active field of research.
Scientists of MEL are involved in the following space experiments:
- CaSSIS i NOMAD (ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter)
- MIMA (ExoMars 2022)