Six Martian Years of CO2 Clouds Survey By OMEGA/Mex.

Friday, 19 December 2014
Brigitte Gondet, Jean-Pierre Bibring and Mathieu Vincendon, CNRS, Paris Cedex 16, France
Mesospheric clouds have been detected first from Earth (Bell et al 1996 [1]), then from Mars orbit (MGS/TES and MOC, Clancy et al 1998 [2]). Their composition (CO2) was inferred from temperature. Similar detection and temperature-inferred composition was then performed by Spicam and PFS on board Mars Express (Monmessin et al [3], Formisano et al [4]., 2006).

The first direct detection and characterization (altitude, composition, velocity) was performed by OMEGA/ Mars Express (then coupled to HRSC/ Mars Express, and confirmed by CRISM/MRO (Montmessin et al. [5], 2007, Maattanen et al [6]., Scholten et al. [7], 2010, Vincendon et al [8]., 2011).

Omega is a very powerful tool for the study of CO2 clouds as it is able to unambiguously identify the CO2 composition of a cloud based on a near-IR spectral feature located at 4.26 µm [5],. Therefore since the beginning of the Mars Express mission (2004) OMEGA as done a systematic survey of these mesospheric clouds. Thanks to the orbit of Mars Express, we can observe this clouds from different altitudes (from apocenter to pericenter) and at different local times.

We will present the result of 6 Martians years of observations and point out a correlation with the dust activity.

We also observe that their time of appearance/disappearance varies slightly from year to year.

We will mention also the existence of mesospheric H2O clouds.