Seasonal Neutron-Flux Variations in the Polar Caps of Mars as Revealed by the Russian HEND Instrument Onboard the NASA 2001 Mars Odyssey Spacecraft

M. L. Litvak, I. G. Mitrofanov, A. S. Kozyrev, A. B. Sanin, V. I. Tret'yakov, W. V. Boynton, C. Shinohara, D. Hamara, S. Saunders, D. M. Drake, M. T. Zuber, D. E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze the flux of epithermal neutrons from the Martian surface recorded by the Russian High-Energy Neutron Detector (HEND) from February 19 through December 19, 2002. The HEND was installed onboard the NASA 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft and is designed to measure neutron fluxes with energies above 1 eV. Over the period of observations, statistically significant variations in the flux of epithermal (10-100 keV) neutrons were found in the northern and southern polar caps. The largest neutron-flux variations were found at subpolar latitudes, where the relative difference between the summer and winter values can reach severalfold. This correlation becomes weaker with increasing distance from the poles. Thus, the relative change in the neutron flux near the 60° parallel is slightly more than 10%. We assume that the detected variations result from the global circulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide in subpolar Martian regions. To additionally test this assumption, we compared the HEND neutron measurements onboard 2001 Mars Odyssey and the seasonal variations in the CO2-layer thickness as observed by the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) onboard Mars Global Surveyor (MGS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-386
Number of pages9
JournalSolar System Research
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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