Special Reports

Atmospheric Imaging Results from the Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity

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Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1753-1756
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104474

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A visible atmospheric optical depth of 0.9 was measured by the Spirit rover at Gusev crater and by the Opportunity rover at Meridiani Planum. Optical depth decreased by about 0.6 to 0.7% per sol through both 90-sol primary missions. The vertical distribution of atmospheric dust at Gusev crater was consistent with uniform mixing, with a measured scale height of 11.56 ± 0.62 kilometers. The dust's cross section weighted mean radius was 1.47 ± 0.21 micrometers (mm) at Gusev and 1.52 ± 0.18 mm at Meridiani. Comparison of visible optical depths with 9-mm optical depths shows a visible-to-infrared optical depth ratio of 2.0 ± 0.2 for comparison with previous monitoring of infrared optical depths.

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