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Mars Methane Sources in Northwestern Gale Crater Inferred From Back Trajectory Modeling

Luo, Y. and Mischna, M. A. and Lin, J. C. and Fasoli, B. and Cai, X. and Yung, Y. L. (2021) Mars Methane Sources in Northwestern Gale Crater Inferred From Back Trajectory Modeling. Earth and Space Science, 8 (11). Art. No. e2021EA001915. ISSN 2333-5084. doi:10.1029/2021ea001915.

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During its first seven years of operation, the Sample Analysis at Mars Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) on board the Curiosity rover has detected seven methane spikes above a low background abundance in Gale crater. The methane spikes are likely sourced by surface emission within or around Gale crater. Here, we use inverse Lagrangian modeling techniques to identify upstream emission regions on the Martian surface for these methane spikes at an unprecedented spatial resolution. Inside Gale crater, the northwestern crater floor casts the strongest influence on the detections. Outside Gale crater, the upstream regions common to all the methane spikes extend toward the north. The contrasting results from two consecutive TLS methane measurements performed on the same sol point to an active emission site to the west or the southwest of the Curiosity rover on the northwestern crater floor. The observed spike magnitude and frequency also favor emission sites on the northwestern crater floor, unless there are fast methane removal mechanisms at work, or either the methane spikes of TLS or the non-detections of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter cannot be trusted.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription conditions and parameters used in the MarsWRF simulations Itemoriginal STILT model to the original STILT model based on the conditions of Mars formatted STILT footprint files
Luo, Y.0000-0003-0983-3650
Mischna, M. A.0000-0002-8022-5319
Lin, J. C.0000-0003-2794-184X
Fasoli, B.0000-0001-7372-2176
Yung, Y. L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors. Earth and Space Science published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Issue Online: 15 November 2021. Version of Record online: 15 November 2021. Accepted manuscript online: 04 November 2021. Manuscript accepted: 27 October 2021. Manuscript revised: 26 October 2021. Manuscript received: 11 July 2021. A portion of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA (80NM0018D0004). Y. L. Yung acknowledges the President's and Director's Research and Development Fund and the support from the Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington that is funded via NASA Astrobiology Program Grant No. 80NSSC18K0829. Resources supporting this work were provided by the NASA High-End Computing (HEC) Program through the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at Ames Research Center. Data Availability Statement A file that lists all the relevant conditions and parameters used in the MarsWRF simulations can be found at the CaltechDATA repository via (Mischna, 2021). The original STILT model is available at its website (Lin et al., 2020). A list of modifications to the original STILT model based on the conditions of Mars can be found at the CaltechDATA repository via (Luo et al., 2021a). The NetCDF formatted STILT footprint files that are used to generate Figures 3-5 in the main text and Figures S5–S10 in Supporting Information S1 are available at the CaltechDATA repository via (Luo et al., 2021b).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
JPL President and Director's FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; methane; back trajectory; MSL; TLS; TGO
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211209-231120000
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Official Citation:Luo, Y., Mischna, M. A., Lin, J. C., Fasoli, B., Cai, X., & Yung, Y. L. (2021). Mars methane sources in northwestern Gale crater inferred from back trajectory modeling. Earth and Space Science, 8, e2021EA001915.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112348
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:10 Dec 2021 20:04
Last Modified:01 Feb 2022 22:54

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