IRTF Data Archive Program Information

# # Program information file # PROGRAM_ID 2021A089 PROGRAM_TITLE Mapping of Atmospheric Methane and Searching for Other Organic Molecules during Mars' Northern Spring PROGRAM_INV1 Robert Novak PROGRAM_INV2 Michael Mumma PROGRAM_INV3 PROGRAM_INV4 PROGRAM_INV5 PROGRAM_SCICAT solar system PROGRAM_ABSTRACT_BEG Our group has been measuring methane on Mars since 2003. Our previous measurements of methane in Mars' atmosphere indicate that the source is relatively local. We have found that methane column density [~ 45 ppbv] peaks during northern summer, but also occurs during the northern winter season near the equator. We are seeking three nights to study the early northern spring on Mars, a season we have not yet observed. We intend to measure methane and water absorptions on Mars by placing the slit N/S across the center of the planet using the L3 setting on iSHELL. Absorption spectra of methane and water intersect near 3.3 microns. With Mars being observable for eight hours per night, we intend to construct latitude/longitude maps of atmospheric methane and water for 120 degrees in longitude. One night, we plan to place the slit E/W on Mars to determine diurnal variations of these gases. We are seeking three day/night sessions between February 1 and March 31, 2021 when Mars will be in its northern spring season. In addition to methane, the spectral region for ethane and propane absorptions fall within the L3 setting. We hope to identify their presence on Mars, but realistically, we would measure their upper limits. PROGRAM_ABSTRACT_END