ASTRA’s world class modeling capabilities include the Martian middle and upper atmosphere. Dr. Crowley led a team that modified the Earth TIME-GCM for the Martian atmosphere (Crowley refs and conference proceedings) and is called the Advanced SPace ENvironment model (ASPEN). ASPEN-Mars simulates the Martian atmosphere from about 14 km to the exobase, including the ionosphere. ASPEN-MARS currently solves for the neutral, electron and ion temperature profiles as well as for the compositional profiles of CO2, N2 and OX = (O + O3), coupled through major species diffusion equations. It also includes as minor species with transport and photochemistry: O2, Ar, N(4S), NOX = (NO + NO2), H2O, H2, CH4, CO, and HOx = (H + OH + HO2) as well as ion chemistry.
The ASPEN-Mars model is unique and differs considerably from other Mars Models in its altitude range, inclusion of detailed middle atmosphere chemistry, and electrodynamics. However appropriate comparisons (such as thermospheric wind and temperature structure, see Figure below) of the ASPEN-Mars model results with other models reveals they agree well.
Examples of ASPEN-Mars capabilities:
Temperature and Winds
Relevance of ASPEN-Mars to Mission Development and Planning