Exploring planetary magnetic environments using magnetically unclean spacecraft: a systems approach to VEX MAG data analysis
In situ measurements of the magnetic field are vital to the study of many fundamental problems in planetary research. Therefore the magnetometer experiment is a key element of the payload of Venus Express. In addition to the interaction of the solar wind with Venus, these measurements are crucial for the study of atmospheric escape and detection of lightning. However, the methodology for the magnetic field measurements had to be different to the traditional approach, because Venus Express is not a magnetically clean spacecraft. A technique based on two-point simultaneous measurements of the magnetic field and systems identification software is used to separate the natural magnetic field from the spacecraft generated interference. In this paper an overview of the techniques developed to separate these two field types and the results achieved for 1 Hz Venus Express data are presented. Previous publications suggest that the resulting Venus Express cleaned data is of comparable quality to measurements made from onboard magnetically clean spacecraft (Zhang et al., 2008a, b; Slavin et al., 2009).