SPEX: the Spectro-Polarimeter for Planetary Exploration

This is short promotional film on the SPEX instrument concept. I was commissioned to put this film together on a Friday afternoon at 5:30pm in 2011. The film had to be ready by the next Monday morning, as a Dutch business & science delegation was going to use it during a presentation in China. The idea is that SPEX will fly on a Chinese mission to Mars in the future. For this film I could only use existing materials (mostly still images, figures and graphs) related to SPEX.

SPEX, the Spectropolarimeter for Planetary Exploration developed by SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, can map the properties of aerosols and clouds in the atmospheres of the Earth and other planets, such as Mars. SPEX measures how sunlight is scattered by the small particles in the atmosphere. The degree of polarisation of the scattered light is an indicator of the chemical composition, size and shape of the particles. For Mars, scientist could learn more about the evolution of the famous dust storms and how these can grow to sometimes covered the entire planet. Also, information about the clouds and consequently the climate can be derived.

[Lightcurve Films for SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research; 02:12 min.; May 2011]

  • Planetarrella, the Polar Light Simulator

  • The Chemical Cosmos: a guided tour

  • European Planetology Network