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Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater

Webster, Christopher R. and Mahaffy, Paul R. and Atreya, Sushil K. and Flesch, Gregory J. and Mischna, Michael A. and Meslin, Pierre-Yves and Farley, Kenneth A. and Conrad, Pamela G. and Christensen, Lance E. and Pavlov, Alexander A. and Martín-Torres, Javier and Zorzano, María-Paz and McConnochie, Timothy H. and Owen, Tobias and Eigenbrode, Jennifer L. and Glavin, Daniel P. and Steele, Andrew and Malespin, Charles A. and Archer, P. Douglas Jr. and Sutter, Brad and Coll, Patrice and Freissinet, Caroline and McKay, Christopher P. and Moores, John E. and Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Bridges, John C. and Navarro-González, Rafael and Gellert, Ralf and Lemmon, Mark T. (2015) Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater. Science, 347 (6220). pp. 415-417. ISSN 0036-8075.

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Reports of plumes or patches of methane in the Martian atmosphere that vary over monthly timescales have defied explanation to date. From in situ measurements made over a 20-month period by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on Curiosity at Gale Crater, we report detection of background levels of atmospheric methane of mean value 0.69 ± 0.25 ppbv at the 95% confidence interval (CI). This abundance is lower than model estimates of ultraviolet (UV) degradation of accreted interplanetary dust particles (IDP’s) or carbonaceous chondrite material. Additionally, in four sequential measurements spanning a 60-sol period, we observed elevated levels of methane of 7.2 ± 2.1 (95% CI) ppbv implying that Mars is episodically producing methane from an additional unknown source.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle PDF Article material Related ItemMSL SAM data - NASA PDS Geosciences Node
Mahaffy, Paul R.0000-0003-1896-1726
Atreya, Sushil K.0000-0002-1972-1815
Mischna, Michael A.0000-0002-8022-5319
Meslin, Pierre-Yves0000-0002-0703-3951
Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.0000-0003-3089-1986
Glavin, Daniel P.0000-0001-7779-7765
Malespin, Charles A.0000-0002-5852-5016
Sutter, Brad0000-0002-3036-170X
Schwenzer, Susanne P.0000-0002-9608-0759
Bridges, John C.0000-0002-9579-5779
Gellert, Ralf0000-0001-7928-834X
Additional Information:Copyright 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 24 September 2014. Accepted for publication 5 December 2014. Published Online [Science Express] December 16 2014. The research described here was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Cal1forn1a Institute of Technology. under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Data described 1n the paper are further described 1n the Supplementary Materials and have been submitted to NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS) under an arrangement with the Mars Science Laboratory project. Funding is acknowledged for JMT and MPZ from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Compet1veness, JCB from the United Kingdom Space Agency. and RG from the Canadian Space Agency.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)UNSPECIFIED
United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA)UNSPECIFIED
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars ; Mars Science Laboratory ; Curiosity ; methane ; Gale crater
Non-Subject Keywords:Mars Science Laboratory ; Curiosity ; NASA
Issue or Number:6220
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141210-083300697
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater Christopher R. Webster, Paul R. Mahaffy, Sushil K. Atreya, Gregory J. Flesch, Michael A. Mischna, Pierre-Yves Meslin, Kenneth A. Farley, Pamela G. Conrad, Lance E. Christensen, Alexander A. Pavlov, Javier Martín-Torres, María-Paz Zorzano, Timothy H. McConnochie, Tobias Owen, Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, Daniel P. Glavin, Andrew Steele, Charles A. Malespin, P. Douglas Archer Jr., Brad Sutter, Patrice Coll, Caroline Freissinet, Christopher P. McKay, John E. Moores, Susanne P. Schwenzer, John C. Bridges, Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez, Ralf Gellert, Mark T. Lemmon, and the MSL Science Team Science 1261713 Published online 16 December 2014 [DOI:10.1126/science.1261713]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52526
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:16 Dec 2014 19:27
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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