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Ice microphysical properties evolution in the Seasonal South cap of Mars using ExoMars/NOMAD

Presentation #300.02 in the session Martian Ice, Climate, and Habitability (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Ice microphysical properties evolution in the Seasonal South cap of Mars using ExoMars/NOMAD

The Martian atmosphere is mainly composed of CO2 that condensates and sublimates in each pole during the local winter season. The microphysical state of this CO2 deposit is a matter of debate since decades. It can form by snow accumulation or by direct condensation but also can evolve in time trough sintering or various cleaning process. The Seasonal Polar Caps can incorporate impurities of water and dust that favor and/or block each of these evolution processes.

Thanks to its unprecedent high spectral resolution capabilities, NOMAD LNO onboard ExoMars/TGO is a unique instrument. In addition, the orbit of ExoMars/TGO makes it possible to observe the surface ice cover at various local times. For these two reasons, NOMAD offers an ideal point of view to characterize the surface deposit and its evolution. From the NOMAD IR spectra, we used a Bayesian inversion scheme coupled with a radiative transfer model to estimate the icy surface microphysics parameters, such as: thickness, dust impurities, surface roughness, dust cover.

Here, we focalized the study on the Seasonal South Polar Cap, from Ls=120° to Ls=280° at various local time. We will present the maps, seasonal and local time evolution of the main icy surface characteristics and discuss the potential processes at the origin of the Cryptic region/anti-Cryptic regions.

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