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Determining the Local Abundance of Martian Methane and its 13-C/l2-C and D/H Isotopic Ratios for Comparison with Related Gas and Soil Analysis on the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) MissionUnderstanding the origin of Martian methane will require numerous complementary measurements from both in situ and remote sensing investigations and laboratory work to correlate planetary surface geophysics with atmospheric dynamics and chemistry. Three instruments (Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), Gas Chromatograph (GC) and Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS)) with sophisticated sample handling and processing capability make up the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) analytical chemistry suite on NASA s 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission. Leveraging off the SAM sample and gas processing capability that includes methane enrichment, TLS has unprecedented sensitivity for measuring absolute methane (parts-per-trillion), water, and carbon dioxide abundances in both the Martian atmosphere and evolved from heated soil samples. In concert with a wide variety of associated trace gases (e.g. SO2, H2S, NH3, higher hydrocarbons, organics, etc.) and other isotope ratios measured by SAM, TLS will focus on determining the absolute abundances of methane, water and carbon dioxide, and their isotope ratios: 13C/12C and D/H in methane; 13C/12C and 18O/17O/16O in carbon dioxide; and 18O/17O/16O and D/H in water. Measurements near the MSL landing site will be correlated with satellite (Mars Express, Mars 2016) and ground-based observations.
Document ID
20120017357
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Webster, Christopher R. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Mahaffy, Paul R. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: Planetary and Space Science
Volume: 59
Issue: 3-Feb
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
GSFC.JA.6664.2012
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other