Abundance and isotopic composition of gases in the martian atmosphere from the Curiosity rover

MSL Science Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Scopus citations

Abstract

Volume mixing and isotope ratios secured with repeated atmospheric measurements taken with the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity rover are: carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.960(±0.007); argon-40 (40Ar), 0.0193(±0.0001); nitrogen (N2), 0.0189(±0.0003); oxygen, 1.45(±0.09) × 10-3; carbon monoxide, < 1.0 × 10-3; and 40Ar/ 36Ar, 1.9(±0.3) × 103. The 40Ar/N2 ratio is 1.7 times greater and the 40Ar/36Ar ratio 1.6 times lower than values reported by the Viking Lander mass spectrometer in 1976, whereas other values are generally consistent with Viking and remote sensing observations. The 40Ar/ 36Ar ratio is consistent with martian meteoritic values, which provides additional strong support for a martian origin of these rocks. The isotopic signature δ13C from CO2 of ∼45 per mil is independently measured with two instruments. This heavy isotope enrichment in carbon supports the hypothesis of substantial atmospheric loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-266
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume341
Issue number6143
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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