Utilizing Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model (Mars-GRAM 2005) to Evaluate Entry Probe Mission Sites
Justus, Carl Gerald
Justh, Hilary L.
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The Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model (Mars-GRAM 2005) is an engineering-level atmospheric model widely used for diverse mission applications. An overview is presented of Mars-GRAM 2005 and its new features. The "auxiliary profile" option is one new feature of Mars-GRAM 2005. This option uses an input file of temperature and density versus altitude to replace the mean atmospheric values from Mars-GRAM's conventional (General Circulation Model) climatology. Any source of data or alternate model output can be used to generate an auxiliary profile. Auxiliary profiles for this study were produced from mesoscale model output (Southwest Research Institute's Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) model and Oregon State University's Mars mesoscale model (MMM5) model) and a global Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) database. The global TES database has been specifically generated for purposes of making Mars-GRAM auxiliary profiles. This data base contains averages and standard deviations of temperature, density, and thermal wind components, averaged over 5-by-5 degree latitude-longitude bins and 15 degree Ls bins, for each of three Mars years of TES nadir data. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) sites are used as a sample of how Mars-GRAM could be a valuable tool for planning of future Mars entry probe missions. Results are presented using auxiliary profiles produced from the mesoscale model output and TES observed data for candidate MSL landing sites. Input parameters rpscale (for density perturbations) and rwscale (for wind perturbations) can be used to "recalibrate" Mars-GRAM perturbation magnitudes to better replicate observed or mesoscale model variability.