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Composition of the earth's atmosphere by shock-layer radiometry during the PAET entry probe experiment.A determination of the composition of the earth's atmosphere obtained from onboard radiometer measurements of the spectra emitted from the bow shock layer of a high-speed entry probe is reported. The N2, O2, CO2, and noble gas concentrations in the earth's atmosphere were determined to good accuracy by this technique. The results demonstrate unequivocally the feasibility of determining the composition of an unknown planetary atmosphere by means of a multichannel radiometer viewing optical emission from the heated atmospheric gases in the region between the bow shock wave and the vehicle surface. The spectral locations in this experiment were preselected to enable the observation of CN violet, N2(+) first negative and atomic oxygen emission at 3870, 3910, and 7775 A, respectively. The atmospheric gases were heated and compressed by the shock wave to a peak temperature of about 6100 K and a corresponding pressure of 0.4 atm. Complete descriptions of the data analysis technique and the onboard radiometer and its calibration are given.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Whiting, E. E.
Arnold, J. O.
Page, W. A.
Reynolds, R. M.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif., United States)
Date Acquired
August 7, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1973
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Volume: 13
Subject Category
Accession Number
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