SPICAM on Mars Express: A 10 year in-depth survey of the Martian atmosphere
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The SPICAM experiment onboard Mars Express has accumulated during the last decade a wealth of observations that has permitted a detailed characterization of the atmospheric composition and activity from the near-surface up to above the exosphere. The SPICAM climatology is one of the longest assembled to date by an instrument in orbit around Mars, offering the opportunity to study the fate of major volatile species in the Martian atmosphere over a multi-(Mars)year timeframe. With his dual ultraviolet (UV)-near Infrared channels, SPICAM observes spectral ranges encompassing signatures created by a variety atmospheric gases, from major (CO2) to trace species (H2O, O3). Here, we present a synthesis of the observations collected for water vapor, ozone, clouds and dust, carbon dioxide, exospheric hydrogen and airglows. The assembled climatology covers the MY 27–MY 31 period. However, the monitoring of UV-derived species was interrupted at the end of 2014 (MY30) due to failure of the UV channel. A SO2 detection attempt was undertaken, but proved unsuccessful from regional to global scales (with upper limit greater than already published ones). One particular conclusion that stands out from this overview work concerns the way the Martian atmosphere organizes an efficient mass transfer between the lower and the upper atmospheric reservoirs. This highway to space, as we name it, is best illustrated by water and hydrogen, both species having been monitored by SPICAM in their respective atmospheric reservoir. Coupling between the two appear to occur on seasonal timescales, much shorter than theoretical predictions.
CitationMontmessin, F.; Korablev, O.; Lefèvre, F.; Bertaux, J.-L.; Fedorova, A.; Trokhimovskiy, A.; Chaufray, J.Y.; Lacombe, G.; Reberac, A.; Maltagliati, L.; Willame, Y.; Guslyakova, S.; Gérard, J.-C.; Stiepen, A.; Fussen, D.; Mateshvili, N.; Määttänen, A.; Forget, F.; Witasse, O.; Leblanc, F.; Vandaele, A.C.; Marcq, E.; Sandel, B.; Gondet, B.; Schneider, N.; Chaffin, M.; Chapron, N. (2017). SPICAM on Mars Express: A 10 year in-depth survey of the Martian atmosphere. , Icarus, Vol. 297, 195-2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.06.022.