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

AuthorsHaberle, Robert; Gómez-Elvira, Javier ; Torre Juárez, Manuel de la; Harri, Ari-Matti; Hollingsworth, J. L.; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, M. A.; Lemmon, M.; Martín-Torres, F. J.; Mischna, M.; Moores, J. E.; Newman, C.; Rafkin, Scot C. R.; Rennó, Nilton O.; Richardson, Mark; Rodríguez-Manfredi, José Antonio ; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Zorzano, María Paz ; MSL Science Team; Martínez-Frías, J.
Issue Date6-Mar-2014
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 119(3): 440–453.
AbstractWe 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 CO2 from the south polar residual cap.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013JE004488
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