NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Mars-GRAM 2010: Improving the Precision of Mars-GRAMIt has been discovered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) site selection process that the Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model (Mars-GRAM) when used for sensitivity studies for Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) MapYear=0 and large optical depth values, such as tau=3, is less than realistic. Mars-GRAM's perturbation modeling capability is commonly used, in a Monte-Carlo mode, to perform high fidelity engineering end-to-end simulations for entry, descent, and landing (EDL). Mars-GRAM 2005 has been validated against Radio Science data, and both nadir and limb data from TES. Traditional Mars-GRAM options for representing the mean atmosphere along entry corridors include: (1) TES mapping year 0, with user-controlled dust optical depth and Mars-GRAM data interpolated from NASA Ames Mars General Circulation Model (MGCM) results driven by selected values of globally-uniform dust optical depth, or (2) TES mapping years 1 and 2, with Mars-GRAM data coming from MGCM results driven by observed TES dust optical depth. From the surface to 80 km altitude, Mars-GRAM is based on NASA Ames MGCM. Above 80 km, Mars-GRAM is based on the University of Michigan Mars Thermospheric General Circulation Model (MTGCM). MGCM results that were used for Mars-GRAM with MapYear=0 were from a MGCM run with a fixed value of tau=3 for the entire year at all locations. This choice of data has led to discrepancies that have become apparent during recent sensitivity studies for MapYear=0 and large optical depths. Unrealistic energy absorption by time-invariant atmospheric dust leads to an unrealistic thermal energy balance on the polar caps. The outcome is an inaccurate cycle of condensation/sublimation of the polar caps and, as a consequence, an inaccurate cycle of total atmospheric mass and global-average surface pressure. Under an assumption of unchanged temperature profile and hydrostatic equilibrium, a given percentage change in surface pressure would produce a corresponding percentage change in density at all altitudes. Consequently, the final result of a change in surface pressure is an imprecise atmospheric density at all altitudes.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Justh, H. L.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Justus, C. G.
(Dynetics, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Ramey, H. S.
(Jacobs Technologies Engineering Science Contract Group Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
February 8, 2011
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Fourth International Workshop on the Mars Atmosphere: Modelling and Observations
Location: Paris
Country: France
Start Date: February 8, 2011
End Date: February 11, 2011
Sponsors: Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available