37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 33 Mars' Atmosphere
Poster, Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[33.04] Reconstructing the weather on Mars at the time of MERs and Beagle 2 landing

S. R. Lewis, L. Montabone, P. L. Read (AOPP, Dept. of Physics, University of Oxford, UK), P. Withers (Center for Space Physics, Boston University, USA)

We reconstruct the temperature and density structure of the atmosphere on Mars at the time of the landing of the two NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, ``Spirit" and ``Opportunity", and ESA's ``Beagle 2". The reconstruction is based on the assimilation of thermal profiles and dust opacity observations from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft into a general circulation model for the Martian atmosphere, the Oxford (spectral) version of the European Mars GCM (Forget et al., 1999; J. Geophys. Res. 104, 24,155-24,176). The results from the assimilation are compared, in the case of Spirit and Opportunity, with retrievals of temperature and density profiles from data from the accelerometers aboard the two landers (cf. Withers et al., 2003; Planet. Space Sci. 51, 541-561). For all three landers, results are also compared with the climatological state provided by the Mars Climate Database with three different prescribed dust scenarios and added large and small scale variability. Good agreement is found between the results from the assimilation and the results from the analysis of the accelerometer data in the case of the two Rovers. The comparison with the Mars Climate Database forecast is consistent for all the three landers when using a moderately dusty prescribed scenario modeled on the observations of the Viking landers outside the global dust storm, in accordance with the dust conditions on Mars at the time of the landings.

This work was supported by the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: s.lewis1@physics.ox.ac.uk

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