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Environmental monitoring and investigations in Gale Crater by MSL: Highlights from the first 360 sols Claire Newman (Ashima Research) and the MSL Science.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental monitoring and investigations in Gale Crater by MSL: Highlights from the first 360 sols Claire Newman (Ashima Research) and the MSL Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental monitoring and investigations in Gale Crater by MSL: Highlights from the first 360 sols Claire Newman (Ashima Research) and the MSL Science Team with special thanks to members of the MSL Environmental Working Group

2 Overview of MSLs environmental instrument suite

3 Dedicated environmental sensors on MSL The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) (E) UV sensor on the rover deck (B) Wind sensor on boom 1 (not shown, and was damaged on landing) and boom 2 (shown) (F) Pressure sensor inside the rover body (C) Relative humidity sensor on boom 2 In this self- portrait, boom 1 is hidden behind the rover mast (D) Air temperature sensor on boom 1 (not shown) and boom 2 (shown) (A) Ground temperature sensor on boom 1 (not shown)

4 The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) [see later talk by Zeitlin et al.] Measures a broad spectrum of energetic particle radiation Dedicated environmental sensors on MSL

5 The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument(DAN) Measures thermal and epithermal neutrons to infer sub-surface water abundance and (in active mode) vertical distribution in 1 st ~m below surface Dedicated environmental sensors on MSL Pulsed neutron generator (used in active mode) [see later talks by Litvak et al. and Moersch et al.] Detector and electronics

6 ChemCam spectroscopy [see e.g. Wednesday talk by Mcconnochie et al.] Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument [see e.g. later talks by Mahaffy et al. and Webster et al.] Many investigations also being performed by: MSLs cameras (Mastcam, Navcam, MAHLI, …) [see e.g. previous talk by Bell et al.]

7 Why do we care about the environment in Gale Crater?

8 Gives context for wide range of studies & experiments Provides data for future mission planning Massively expands record of in situ Mars meteorology Measuring the current environment helps identify ancient vs. new features and processes Understanding the current environment is vital for extrapolating to the past Provides insight into past climate states Motivation for environmental monitoring

9 Selected highlights from MSLs environmental investigations

10 Water in the atmosphere [REMS RH] Diurnal cycles of temperature and relative humidity over three sols NOTE: Data are preliminary. See Harri et al., JGR (2013) for more details of the RH sensor Local time of day 00:0012:00 00:00 12:0000:00 12:00 00:00 sol 15 sol 16 sol 17 RH simulated for vmr = 140 ppm RH simulated for vmr = 100 ppm RH simulated for vmr = 60 ppm Measured RH Temperature (K) Relative humidity 100 50 -50 0 Temperature (°C) 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100

11 Water in the atmosphere [REMS RH] Mission sol 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Volume mixing ratio (ppm) 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Temperature (°C) -80 -70 -60 Leave blast zone Arrive in Rocknest Leave Rocknest Arrive at Yelloknife Start rapid transit route Seasonal evolution of early morning temperature and water volume mixing ratio consistent with orbital data Southern springSouthern summer Southern Winter NOTE: Data are preliminary. See Harri et al., JGR (2013) for more details of the RH sensor

12 Water in the surface [DAN] DAN modeled weight % water along rover track Most DAN active data fit a 2-layer model with a relatively water-poor top layer; wt% consistent with SAM soil analysis water in top layer (~top 10-20cm) water in bottom layer See later talks by Litvak and Moersch, and papers by Jun, Litvak, and Mitrofanov, et al., JGR (2013)

13 Aeolian features and processes [cameras] Jake Matijevic rock Rocknest sand shadow Obstacles Ventifacts in Hottah Dunes near Mount Sharp (from orbit) sand Inferred directions wind comes from based on ventifact orientations [From Bridges et al., JGR (2013)] Plausible wind directions based on dune morphology

14 Sol 38-55 Sol 55-120 Sol 121-160 N 09:00-10:00 13:00-14:00 18:00-19:00 21:00-22:00 REMS wind directions at 4 times of day in 3 periods REMS team Aeolian features and processes [REMS wind] REMS (and model) wind directions more consistent with winds implied by dunes than by rock abrasion features [see tomorrows Bridges et al. poster] May indicate dunes more recent, while rocks hold record of ancient winds

15 If change detected => REMS peak winds give upper limit on threshold If NO change seen => REMS peak winds give lower limit on threshold Found NO change between images, and peak REMS winds ~16m/s Suggests surface stress must exceed ~0.02-0.04 Pa for particles to move Image1: sol 232, 12:03 LMSTImage2: sol 232, 12:46 LMST Aeolian features and processes [REMS, Mastcam] Experiments to estimate threshold for particle motion: Constant REMS wind monitoring between 2 Mastcam images 3 sets of experiments, each using a pair of images of a post- drilling dump pile

16 N Sol 38-55 Sol 55-120 Sol 121-160 N 09:00-10:00 13:00-14:00 18:00-19:00 21:00-22:00 As shown before, flow is not simply daytime upslope / nighttime downslope with respect to Mount Sharp REMS team Downslope during the day Upslope at night Topography and the circulation [REMS wind]

17 Enhanced daily range in REMS surface pressure compared to ALL prior landing sites measured 3 sols of pressure data sol 9 2 sols of pressure data Schofield et al., 1997 Pressure (Pa) 650 660 670 680 sol 19 Mars PathfinderMSL Peak amplitude ~ 4.5% Peak amplitude ~ 13% Topography and the circulation [REMS pressure] Main cause is hydrostatic adjustment along major slopes in Gale in response to daily air temperature cycle [Richardson et al., JGR 2013] Haberle et al. 2013b

18 Modeling REMSs daily ground temperature cycle Vary model parameters – e.g. thermal inertia, albedo, atmospheric opacity – until find best fit to observations Overall, best fit parameters are consistent with sand-sized soil particles Remaining mismatches suggest a more complex response to incident solar insolation, due to e.g. sub-surface layering Hour (LMST) 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 Hour (LMST) 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 Surface properties [REMS T ground ] See e.g. Renno/Martinez et al. poster on Tuesday, Hamilton et al. poster on Thursday, Vasavada talk on Friday, and upcoming Hamilton et al. JGR paper

19 See Hamilton et al. poster on Thursday Observed daily δT ground and contours of predicted δT ground as a function of season and thermal inertia (assuming constant albedo and opacity) Mission sol Daily max-min ground temp (K) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 60 Surface properties [REMS T ground ]

20 Atmospheric dust and impact [Mastcam] MSL Mastcam opacities are very similar to those at Opportunity, except during e.g. the Ls~208° regional storm Courtesy of Mark Lemmon MSL and Opportunity visible opacities up to ~sol 350

21 In fact, storm onset was first detected via the increased amplitude of the semi-diurnal pressure tide (shown in black) 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 Hour, LMST Pressure, Pa 880 870 860 850 840 830 820 810 800 790 780 770 REMS semi-diurnal pressure tide amplitude Opportunity optical depth THEMIS 9μm optical depth x5 MSL optical depth * + Normalized tidal amplitude (%) Optical depth Big change in shape of daily pressure cycle from sol 96 to sol 97 as a regional dust storm develops near Gale sol 96 sol 97 From Haberle et al. 2013b Atmospheric dust and impact [REMS pressure]

22 REMS has measured dozens of vortices in pressure data A few may also be associated with small fluctuations in UV However, NO definitive dust devils have yet been imaged Atmospheric dust and impact [REMS, Navcam] Signature of vortex passage in REMS pressure data From Harri et al., 2013a Courtesy of Henrik Kahanpää Vortex incidence around noon (11am-1pm LMST) Dust devils (dust-filled convective vortices) are thought to be important for background dust lifting on Mars

23 And many more studies and findings… SAM atmosphere and rock isotope studies provide insight into past environment in Gale [see earlier Mahaffy et al. talk] RAD monitoring shows impact of solar cycle and air mass on surface radiation environment [see later Zeitlin et al. talk] MSL environmental data are helping calibrate present day Mars models & improving their ability to simulate the past Stay tuned for lots more from MSLs environmental instruments and investigations!

24 First comprehensive environmental monitoring instrument suite to be landed on the Martian surface First UV and energetic particle radiation measurements from the surface of Mars First measurements of sub-surface water abundance and distribution from the surface of Mars First attempt to measure threshold for particle motion on Mars Gale Crater is first landing site to provide ability to study the effects of major topography on the environment First comprehensive 1Hz meteorological dataset for Mars Also first surface meteorology since Phoenix, and first long-term environmental monitoring since Viking Firsts for MSLs environmental investigations


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