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The Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) is a spectrometer that measures high-resolution gaseous emission spectra at the Earth's limb. It operates in the near to mid infrared, where many of the atmospheric trace gases playing a major role in atmospheric chemistry have important emission features.
The objectives of MIPAS are:
- Simultaneous and global measurement of geophysical parameters in the middle atmosphere
Stratospheric chemistry: O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, and HNO3
Climatology: Temperature, CH4, N2O, O3
- Study of chemical composition, dynamics, and radiation budget of the middle atmosphere
- Monitoring of stratospheric O3 and CFCs
MIPAS observes a wide spectral interval throughout the mid-infrared with high spectral resolution.
Operating in a wavelength range from 4.15 microns to 14.6 microns, MIPAS detects and spectrally resolves a large number of emission features of minor atmospheric constituents playing a major role in atmospheric chemistry.
Due to its spectral resolution capabilities and the high precision of its measurements, the detected features can be spectroscopically identified and used as input to suitable algorithms for the extraction of atmospheric concentration profiles of a number of target species. These species include the complete NOy-family and several CFCs.
MIPAS is independent of solar illumination, which allows day and night sensing and thus permits global coverage.
MIPAS is a complex instrument made of several sub-systems and has a total mass of about 320 kg.
It comprises the three following modules:
- the MIPAS optics module (MIO) with the scan units and the receiving telescope, the interferometer and the focal plane subsystem, mounted at the anti-sunward end of Envisat
- the MIPAS electronics module (MIE) mounted on the side of Envisat, with redundant instrument control electronics boxes, the MIPAS power distribution unit mounted on a common carrier plate and linked to a common radiator for thermal control
- signal processor electronics (SPE), detector preamplifiers and Stirling cooler drive electronics surrounding the optics module on the deep-space side of Envisat.
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