Structure of the Neutral Upper Atmosphere of Mars: Results from Viking 1 and Viking 2

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Science  17 Dec 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4271, pp. 1298-1300
DOI: 10.1126/science.194.4271.1298


Neutral mass spectrometers carried on the aeroshells of Viking 1 and Viking 2 indicate that carbon dioxide is the major constituent of the martian atmosphere over the height range 120 to 200 kilometers. The atmosphere contains detectable concentrations of nitrogen, argon, carbon monoxide, molecular oxygen, atomic oxygen, and nitric oxide. The upper atmosphere exhibits a complex and variable thermal structure and is well mixed to heights in excess of 120 kilometers.