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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
York University.
Texas A&M University.
Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas.
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2015 (English)In: Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1962), ISSN 0019-1035, E-ISSN 1090-2643, Vol. 249, p. 129-142Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 249, p. 129-142
Keywords [en]
Atmospheres, dynamics, Atmospheres, structure, Mars, Mars, atmosphere
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-2673DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.020ISI: 000348967300009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84922423144Local ID: 0541b396-1e8f-4c44-9b3d-edd85bb5f62aOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-2673DiVA, id: diva2:975526
Note

Upprättat; 2015; 20150228 (javmar)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved

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Martin-Torres, JavierZorzano, María-Paz

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