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Sökning: WFRF:(McConnochie Timothy H.)

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1.
  • G. Trainer, Melissa, et al. (författare)
  • Seasonal Variations in Atmospheric Composition as Measured in Gale Crater, Mars
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets. - : John Wiley & Sons. - 2169-9097 .- 2169-9100. ; 124:11, s. 3000-3024
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover measures the chemical composition of major atmospheric species (CO2, N2, 40Ar, O2, and CO) through a dedicated atmospheric inlet. We report here measurements of volume mixing ratios in Gale Crater using the SAM quadrupole mass spectrometer, obtained over a period of nearly 5 years (3 Mars years) from landing. The observation period spans the northern summer of MY 31 and solar longitude (LS) of 175° through spring of MY 34, LS = 12°. This work expands upon prior reports of the mixing ratios measured by SAM QMS in the first 105 sols of the mission. The SAM QMS atmospheric measurements were taken periodically, with a cumulative coverage of four or five experiments per season on Mars. Major observations include the seasonal cycle of CO2, N2, and Ar, which lags approximately 20–40° of LS behind the pressure cycle driven by CO2 condensation and sublimation from the winter poles. This seasonal cycle indicates that transport occurs on faster timescales than mixing. The mixing ratio of O2 shows significant seasonal and interannual variability, suggesting an unknown atmospheric or surface process at work. The O2 measurements are compared to several parameters, including dust optical depth and trace CH4 measurements by Curiosity. We derive annual mean volume mixing ratios for the atmosphere in Gale Crater: CO2 = 0.951 (±0.003), N2 = 0.0259 (±0.0006), 40Ar = 0.0194 (±0.0004), O2 = 1.61 (±0.09) x 10‐3, and CO = 5.8 (±0.8) x 10‐4.
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2.
  • Moores, John E., et al. (författare)
  • Observational evidence of a suppressed planetary boundary layer in northern Gale Crater, Mars as seen by the Navcam instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962). - 0019-1035 .- 1090-2643. ; 249, s. 129-142
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The Navigation Cameras (Navcam) of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, have been used to examine two aspects of the planetary boundary layer: vertical dust distribution and dust devil frequency. The vertical distribution of dust may be obtained by using observations of the distant crater rim to derive a line-of-sight optical depth within Gale Crater and comparing this optical depth to column optical depths obtained using Mastcam observations of the solar disc. The line of sight method consistently produces lower extinctions within the crater compared to the bulk atmosphere. This suggests a relatively stable atmosphere in which dust may settle out leaving the air within the crater clearer than air above and explains the correlation in observed column opacity between the floor of Gale Crater and the higher elevation Meridiani Planum. In the case of dust devils, despite an extensive campaign only one optically thick vortex (τ=1.5±0.5×10-3) was observed compared to 149 pressure events > 0.5Pa observed in REMS pressure data. Correcting for temporal coverage by REMS and geographic coverage by Navcam still suggests 104 vortices should have been viewable, suggesting that most vortices are dustless. Additionally, the most intense pressure excursions observed on other landing sites (pressure drop >2.5Pa) are lacking from the observations by the REMS instrument. Taken together, these observations are consistent with pre-landing circulation modeling of the crater showing a suppressed, shallow boundary layer. They are further consistent with geological observations of dust that suggests the northern portion of the crater is a sink for dust in the current era.
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3.
  • Martin-Torres, Javier, et al. (författare)
  • Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Nature Geoscience. - 1752-0894 .- 1752-0908. ; 8:5, s. 357-361
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Water is a requirement for life as we know it1. Indirect evidence of transient liquid water has been observed from orbiter on equatorial Mars2, in contrast with expectations from large-scale climate models. The presence of perchlorate salts, which have been detected at Gale crater on equatorial Mars by the Curiosity rover3, 4, lowers the freezing temperature of water5. Moreover, perchlorates can form stable hydrated compounds and liquid solutions by absorbing atmospheric water vapour through deliquescence6, 7. Here we analyse relative humidity, air temperature and ground temperature data from the Curiosity rover at Gale crater and find that the observations support the formation of night-time transient liquid brines in the uppermost 5 cm of the subsurface that then evaporate after sunrise. We also find that changes in the hydration state of salts within the uppermost 15 cm of the subsurface, as measured by Curiosity, are consistent with an active exchange of water at the atmosphere–soil interface. However, the water activity and temperature are probably too low to support terrestrial organisms8. Perchlorates are widespread on the surface of Mars9 and we expect that liquid brines are abundant beyond equatorial regions where atmospheric humidity is higher and temperatures are lower.
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4.
  • Moores, John E., et al. (författare)
  • Atmospheric movies acquired at the Mars Science Laboratory landing site : Cloud Morphology, Frequency and Significance to the Gale Crater Water Cycle and Phoenix Mission Results
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Advances in Space Research. - 0273-1177 .- 1879-1948. ; 55:9, s. 2217-2238
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • We report on the first 360 sols (LS 150° to 5°), representing just over half a Martian year, of atmospheric monitoring movies acquired using the NavCam imager from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover Curiosity. Such movies reveal faint clouds that are difficult to discern in single images. The data set acquired was divided into two different classifications depending upon the orientation and intent of the observation. Up to sol 360, 73 Zenith Movies and 79 Supra-Horizon Movies have been acquired and time-variable features could be discerned in 25 of each. The data set from MSL is compared to similar observations made by the Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) onboard the Phoenix Lander and suggests a much drier environment at Gale Crater (4.6°S) during this season than was observed in Green Valley (68.2°N) as would be expected based on latitude and the global water cycle. The optical depth of the variable component of clouds seen in images with features are up to 0.047 ± 0.009 with a granularity to the features observed which averages 3.8 degrees. MCS also observes clouds during the same period of comparable optical depth at 30 and 50 km that would suggest a cloud spacing of 2.0 to 3.3 km. Multiple motions visible in atmospheric movies support the presence of two distinct layers of clouds. At Gale Crater, these clouds are likely caused by atmospheric waves given the regular spacing of features observed in many Zenith movies and decreased spacing towards the horizon in sunset movies consistent with clouds forming at a constant elevation. Reanalysis of Phoenix data in the light of the NavCam equatorial dataset suggests that clouds may have been more frequent in the earlier portion of the Phoenix mission than was previously thought.
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5.
  • Webster, Christopher R., et al. (författare)
  • Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Science. - 0036-8075 .- 1095-9203. ; 347:6220, s. 415-417
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Reports of plumes or patches of methane in the Martian atmosphere that vary over monthly timescales have defied explanation to date. From in situ measurements made over a 20-month period by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on Curiosity at Gale Crater, we report detection of background levels of atmospheric methane of mean value 0.69 ± 0.25 ppbv at the 95% confidence interval (CI). This abundance is lower than model estimates of ultraviolet (UV) degradation of accreted interplanetary dust particles (IDP’s) or carbonaceous chondrite material. Additionally, in four sequential measurements spanning a 60-sol period, we observed elevated levels of methane of 7.2 ± 2.1 (95% CI) ppbv implying that Mars is episodically producing methane from an additional unknown source.
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