The DREAMS Experiment Onboard the Schiaparelli Module of the ExoMars 2016 Mission: Design, Performances and Expected Results

F. Esposito*, S. Debei, C. Bettanini, C. Molfese, I. Arruego Rodríguez, G. Colombatti, A. M. Harri, F. Montmessin, C. Wilson, Alessio Aboudan, P. Schipani, L. Marty, F. J. Álvarez, V. Apestigue, G. Bellucci, J. J. Berthelier, J. R. Brucato, S. B. Calcutt, S. Chiodini, F. CortecchiaF. Cozzolino, F. Cucciarrè, N. Deniskina, G. Déprez, G. Di Achille, F. Ferri, F. Forget, G. Franzese, E. Friso, M. Genzer, R. Hassen-Kodja, H. Haukka, M. Hieta, J. J. Jiménez, J. L. Josset, H. Kahanpää, O. Karatekin, G. Landis, L. Lapauw, R. Lorenz, J. Martinez-Oter, V. Mennella, D. Möhlmann, D. Moirin, R. Molinaro, T. Nikkanen, E. Palomba, M. R. Patel, J. P. Pommereau, C. I. Popa, S. Rafkin, P. Rannou, N. O. Renno, J. Rivas, W. Schmidt, E. Segato, S. Silvestro, A. Spiga, D. Toledo, R. Trautner, F. Valero, L. Vázquez, F. Vivat, O. Witasse, M. Yela, R. Mugnuolo, E. Marchetti, S. Pirrotta, Alessio Aboudan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The first of the two missions foreseen in the ExoMars program was successfully launched on 14th March 2016. It included the Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli Entry descent and landing Demonstrator Module. Schiaparelli hosted the DREAMS instrument suite that was the only scientific payload designed to operate after the touchdown. DREAMS is a meteorological station with the capability of measuring the electric properties of the Martian atmosphere. It was a completely autonomous instrument, relying on its internal battery for the power supply. Even with low resources (mass, energy), DREAMS would be able to perform novel measurements on Mars (atmospheric electric field) and further our understanding of the Martian environment, including the dust cycle. DREAMS sensors were designed to operate in a very dusty environment, because the experiment was designed to operate on Mars during the dust storm season (October 2016 in Meridiani Planum). Unfortunately, the Schiaparelli module failed part of the descent and the landing and crashed onto the surface of Mars. Nevertheless, several seconds before the crash, the module central computer switched the DREAMS instrument on, and sent back housekeeping data indicating that the DREAMS sensors were performing nominally. This article describes the instrument in terms of scientific goals, design, working principle and performances, as well as the results of calibration and field tests. The spare model is mature and available to fly in a future mission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Atmospheric electric field
  • Dust storm season
  • ExoMars
  • Mars
  • Meteorological station
  • Schiaparelli


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