The martian surface UV environment: theoretical modelling and in-situ measurements

Patel, M. R.; Zarnecki, J. C. and Towner, M. C. (2002). The martian surface UV environment: theoretical modelling and in-situ measurements. In: The Evolving Sun and its Influence on Planetary Environments, ASP Conference Series, Vol. 269, 2002, 2002.



The UV environment on planetary surfaces is of extreme importance in a wide range of scientific disciplines, from meteorological considerations to the viability of biological organisms. Presented here is theoretical modelling for the transmission of ultraviolet radiation (190-400nm) through the martian atmosphere for a variety of possible cases, resulting in surface spectra. Knowledge of the UV transmission gives in-sight into how significant dust presence on Mars interacts with incoming solar radiation, and also yields information on the effect of biologically damaging UV-C on organisms and organic products on the surface. Surface fluxes are calculated using a radiative transfer approximation, for a range of dust loading and ozone abundance. Effects of direct and diffuse illuminance are also highlighted.

In-situ measurements of the UV flux will be possible for the first time onboard the Beagle 2 probe, scheduled to land on Mars in 2003. The instrument will measure the flux at five passbands in the UV, and also measure the total UV dose between 200-400nm throughout the mission lifetime.

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