OMEGA science capabilities

OMEGA is a versatile hyperspectral instrument sensitive to light from 0.35 to 5.1 µm. It observes the Mars surface (mostly but not limited to nadir pointings), the atmosphere (limbs), and Phobos during Mars Express flybys. It can detect absorptions from the surface and atmosphere (gases, ices, minerals), diffusion (e.g. clouds, aerosols), and emissions (atmospheric night/day glows). it can also sense the daytime temperature of the Mars surface and atmosphere.

The instrument capabilities coupled to the highly excentric and non sun-synchronous orbit of MEx, alows for studying Mars with OMEGA at all spatial and temporal scales:

  • Spatial scales: from ~300 m/pix to >10 km/pix
  • Temporal scales: most local times accessible, long observation baseline (since 2004) covering several Martian Years at all Solar Longitudes
  • Pointings geometries: nadir/quasi-nadir, limb, spot-tracking, inertial
  • A few of the science capabilities are showcased below:

    Polar ice/frost monitoring
    Mineralogy (igneous, aqueous)
    Clouds (H2O and CO2)
    Seasonal atmospheric dust
    Atmospheric glow (day/night)
    Surface thermal state
    Atmospheric sounding
    Atmosphere vertical structure
    Phobos science

    The OMEGA project

    OMEGA has been developed by IAS (Paris-Saclay University) and LESIA (Observatoire de Paris) with the support of CNES, with a participation of IAPS/INAF (formely IFSI) in Italy, and IKI in Russia. The instrument has originally been developed for the Russian mission Mars-96, lost during the launch in November 1996. The instrument is under the scientific responsibility of IAS. The lead funding agency is CNES in France. ASI is the Italian lead funding agency. The OMEGA team acknowledges ongoing support from ESA for science operations and archiving.

    The OMEGA Team

    Operational team at IAS

  • PI: John Carter
  • PI Emeritus: Jean-Pierre Bibring
  • Software manager and instrument scientist: Yves Langevin
  • Archive manager: Gilles Poulleau

  • International science team

  • FR, IT, ES, PT, DE, USA, RU

  • Early career OMEGA scientists

  • Oceane Barraud (DLR)
  • Aurelien Stcherbinine (IRAP)
  • Yann Leseigneur (LATMOS)
  • Ines Torres (LGL/LAM)
  • Apolline Leclef (IAS)
  • Lucie Riu (Aurora/ESAC)
  • Maxime Pineau (LAM)
  • Akira Kazama (U. Tohoku, JP)
  • Latest News

    Recent team publications:

  • Y. Leseigneur et al., OMEGA/Mars Express: A new martian atmospheric dust hunter, Icarus, 10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115366 (2023)
  • L. Riu et al., Global surficial water content stored in hydrated silicates at Mars from OMEGA/MEx, Icarus, 10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115537 (2023)