Research in Engineering and Aviation

A Wind Tunnel for the Calibration of Mars Wind Sensors

October 2008

Author(s): C. F. Wilson, A. L. Camilletti, S. B. Calcutt, and P. M. Ligrani

Journal: Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 56, No. 11, pp. 1532-1541, October 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2008.05.011


A major limitation in the development of wind sensors for use on Mars is the lack of suitable testing and calibration facilities. A low-density wind tunnel has been developed at Oxford University for calibration of wind sensors for Mars landers, capable of providing stable or dynamically varying winds, of air or carbon dioxide, at Martian pressures (5–10 mbar) and speeds (0.5–30 m/s), and temperatures of 200–300 K. The flow field in the test section was calculated using analytical and computational modelling techniques, and validated experimentally using a pitot probe. This facility’s stability and accuracy offer significant advantages with respect to previous calibration facilities.

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