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The observed winter circulation at InSight’s landing site and its impact on understanding the year-round circulation and aeolian activity in Elysium Planitia and Gale Crater

Newman, C. E.; Viudez-Moreiras, D.; Baker, M.; Lewis, K.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Navarro, S.; Torres, J.; Spiga, A.; Banfield, D.; Teanby, N.; Forget, F.; Pla-Garcia, J.; Lewis, S. R.; Banks, M.; Rodriguez, S. and Lucas, A. (2019). The observed winter circulation at InSight’s landing site and its impact on understanding the year-round circulation and aeolian activity in Elysium Planitia and Gale Crater. In: 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 18-22 Mar 2019, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA.

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Abstract

The InSight lander landed at 135.62°E, 4.50°N in Elysium Planitia, less than 550km from the landing site of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, at 137.44°E, 4.59°S in Gale Crater. Both missions carried a suite of meteorological instruments, but regrettably MSL’s wind sensor was damaged on landing and failed completely after ~two Mars years [1]. The resultant data gaps and biases made it very difficult to properly characterize the diurnal and seasonal cycles of wind speed and direction in Gale Crater, a region of extreme topography containing numerous aeolian features.

Fortunately, InSight’s wind sensor does not appear to have been damaged on landing, and is returning excellent wind data for the landing season (Ls~300°, northern winter). This valuable dataset has already allowed us to characterize the Elysium Planitia circulation at one time of year, and - in combination with atmospheric models - provides vital insight into what controls the circulation in this region of Mars. In turn, this better understanding of the regional circulation allows us to better interpret the local scale winds partially measured by MSL.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Space
Item ID: 60253
Depositing User: Stephen Lewis
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 08:32
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 05:26
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/60253
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