Iintroduction

To measure the basic characteristics - mass, velocity, and direction - of dust particles in space, an impact ionization dust detector is one of the most powerful tools. Mars Dust Counter (MDC) is an impact-ionization dust detector, whose mass is only 730g. MDC is on board the Japanese Mars mission NOZOMI (PLANET-B), which was launched on July 4th,

1998. The main objective of NOZOMI is to study Martian aeronomy and outer environment, especially the interaction between the Martian upper atmosphere and the solar wind. NOZOMI'S apoapis distance is larger than Deimos' orbital radius. The primary objective of MDC is to discover Martian dust rings or tori whose particles are ejected from Phobos and Deimos [2-11]. To sustain the dust number density of dust rings, there is a proposed self-sustaining mechanism, where satellite-dust collisons should supply additional dust. If the self-sustaining mechanism is effective, the dust abundance would be high enough to be detectable by MDC [8]. MDC NOZOMI started its measurement just after the launch and MDC has been measuring continuously dust particles in space.

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