Preliminary interpretation of the REMS pressure data from the first 100 sols of the MSL mission

R. M. Haberle, J. Gõmez-Elvira, M. De La Torre Juárez, A. M. Harri, J. L. Hollingsworth, H. Kahanpää, M. A. Kahre, M. Lemmon, F. J. Martín-Torres, M. Mischna, J. E. Moores, C. Newman, S. C.R. Rafkin, N. Rennõ, M. I. Richardson, J. A. Rodríguez-Manfredi, A. R. Vasavada, M. P. Zorzano-Mier

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56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We provide a preliminary interpretation of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) pressure data from the first 100 Martian solar days (sols) of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The pressure sensor is performing well and has revealed the existence of phenomena undetected by previous missions that include possible gravity waves excited by evening downslope flows, relatively dust-free convective vortices analogous in structure to dust devils, and signatures indicative of the circulation induced by Gale Crater and its central mound. Other more familiar phenomena are also present including the thermal tides, generated by daily insolation variations, and the CO2 cycle, driven by the condensation and sublimation of CO2 in the polar regions. The amplitude of the thermal tides is several times larger than those seen by other landers primarily because Curiosity is located where eastward and westward tidal modes constructively interfere and also because the crater circulation amplifies the tides to some extent. During the first 100 sols tidal amplitudes generally decline, which we attribute to the waning influence of the Kelvin wave. Toward the end of the 100 sol period, tidal amplitudes abruptly increased in response to a nearby regional dust storm that did not expand to global scales. Tidal phases changed abruptly during the onset of this storm suggesting a change in the interaction between eastward and westward modes. When compared to Viking Lander 2 data, the REMS daily average pressures show no evidence yet for the 1-20 Pa increase expected from the possible loss of CO 2 from the south polar residual cap. Key Points REMS pressure sensor is operating nominally New phenomena have been discovered Familiar phenomena have been detected

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-453
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume119
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • MSL
  • REMS
  • pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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    Haberle, R. M., Gõmez-Elvira, J., De La Torre Juárez, M., Harri, A. M., Hollingsworth, J. L., Kahanpää, H., Kahre, M. A., Lemmon, M., Martín-Torres, F. J., Mischna, M., Moores, J. E., Newman, C., Rafkin, S. C. R., Rennõ, N., Richardson, M. I., Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A., Vasavada, A. R., & Zorzano-Mier, M. P. (2014). Preliminary interpretation of the REMS pressure data from the first 100 sols of the MSL mission. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 119(3), 440-453. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JE004488