Talk:Atmosphere of Mars

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Pie chart?[edit]

I'd like to see a pie chart of the atmospheric components. --zandperl 00:29, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


I'd like to see a source for the atmospheric composition. PeterBrett (talk) 22:22, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Yeah c'mon where are all these percentages from? There needs to be a reference for these, not just plain numbers. - M0rphzone (talk) 08:44, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Try reading reference #4. BatteryIncluded (talk) 23:25, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That isn't easy to figure out. I've added a name to that ref and added the ref name to the chart so that people don't have to hunt through the refs to check the numbers. - M0rphzone (talk) 00:58, 5 April 2012 (UTC)


This article is written like an essay, not an encyclopedia entry.

Conjunctions should be modified or eliminated to make the factual presentation clearer (at the expense of friendly, guiding essay-like conjunctions). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Amornoguerra (talkcontribs) 19:09, 25 May 2008 (UTC)


What is the average overall mass of the Martian atmosphere? T.Neo (talk contribs review me ) 10:35, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Methane measurement technique[edit]

Measurements of 13C/12C and D/H in methane would be difficult because of the low methane abundance. These ratios are mostly sensitive to a temperature of methane formation and cannot distinguish between biogenic and low-temperature geologic sources.[1], [2]. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 03:12, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Dust Storm Model[edit]

HERE!, just a little oldish (1973). ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:10, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

universetoday's NASA links to storm articles. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

And just a note: it is obvious (!) that those models implying that the climate of Mars is unstable and easily heatened by artificial production of carbon dioxide, are real. Mars by itself exhibit this instability through the dust storms, that heightens the global Mars temperature by a few dozen degrees. It would also be interesting to know how the atmospheric pressure varies by the dust storms. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:17, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Mars' dust storms may produce peroxide snow, University of California, Berkeley. Peroxide that destroys life, Viking experiments and methane. (Bouahahahaaa!) Except not enough, obviously, since methane is still there for some reason. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Only 10 known global dust storms on Mars since 1877. That makes considerably fewer than one each Mars year. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 22:31, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

A thesis on Mars dust. Years of dust storms: 1924, 1956, 1971, 1973, 1977a, 1977b, 1982, 1994. We also know of the storm from 2001. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 23:39, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Potential for static electricity or lightning[edit]

What kind of static electricity is possible in the Martian atmosphere?

Even though the atmosphere is very thin, there ought to be the potential for running up a charge of some kind, and examining that charge with nothing more than a very tall antenna, either raised from the surface, or dropped from an orbiter.

When the ground rovers were dropped onto the surface, how were the antennas isolated from static charges produced by the wind blowing over the rovers?

The main article could be improved by adding a link to the studies, whatever there may have been, that had to have been conducted prior to dropping a rover or ground unit onto the Martian surface. Wasn't there some fear that the static charges would be so great, communication with an orbiter, might have been impossible? Contributions/ (talk) 08:28, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Pa to kPa[edit]

Are all the translations of Pa to kPa really necessary, seems a bit redundant to me. (talk) 16:02, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

workshop methane on mars[edit]

The methane workshop on mars in Frascatti was nice and showed that the measured stuff from Formisano and Mumma are contradicting each other in some way. The absence of high concentrations in mid latitudes while the other results show plumes there. The short lifed plumes in a nearly methane free atmosphere of Mars Mumma and Formisano observed are only possible in the Mars global circulation model if the half life is below 300days. There is no known process to lower the half life from 300 years to below 200days without affecting CO and O3 and other trace gases. The work has just started and what I heared the results might not get conclusive before 2016 atmosphere orbiter data arrives.--Stone (talk) 08:23, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Is there an available powerpoint presentation of that conference? It is true that the production of methane is as intriging as its destruction, as short as 6 months, according to Mumma. My money is in seasonal production. By the way, did you notice that NASA's "2016 Mars Science Orbiter" it was renamed as Trace Gas Mission when it became a joint mission with ESA? It will carry an American payload and it may include mapping capability. --BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:04, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
The ppts are not online yet and I do not think they will be accessible for everybody. The abstracts should be available from the net. The seasonal change is not that sure, because the 2005 to 2009 Mumma observations look not like seasonal more like sporadic out breaks in a yet unknown time interval longer than one mars year. The renaming of Exomars and the orbiter is still underway and fore sure they will come up with some fancy name for the combined 2016 2018 missions. --Stone (talk) 09:18, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
A German scientist published a diary of the conference. In German: [3] and in English: [4].--Stone (talk) 09:49, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the link! It looks like they are ruling out volcanism and are leaning more in favor of serpentinization, however, it would require "very large amounts of liquid water", still not detected by ground-penetrating radar to several km depth. They also said that this stimulates to consider even more seriously the possibility of a biological source (anaerobic methanogen), and therefore the need to discern the C13/C12 ratio. They agreed that even if there is a biological origin of methane (which still requires of some water), it does not mean 100% of the gas would be produced by microorganisms, some may still be produced by geologic means. It was very interesting and I found nothing new to introduce/change the article with. They will wait and see what the MSL and MAVEN spacecraft find out and then update their models and hypotheses. I expect more brainstorming like this to go on for a few years in order to select the rovers' and orbiter's scientific payload. Thanks again for the link, --BatteryIncluded (talk) 16:52, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
The presentations held at the workshop are now available at the following website in PDF format here: [5]

Dubious postulation[edit]

The final paragraph: "However, if humans are to colonize Mars in the future, they will likely need as many greenhouse gases as they can get in order to maintain a warm climate. So using the Martian atmosphere as a consumable resource with no intentions of replenishing it may be considered dubious." This is largely incorrect, as the most common proposed uses for the atmosphere are to generate oxygen for breathing (so it's still part of the atmosphere) and rocket fuel, most of which is blasted back down to the planet during launch. Also, it will be a very long time before we can make much of a dent in 25 teratonnes, even if everything we processed actually was removed from the planet, as the above quoted paragraph implies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:28, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Fixed Kauffner (talk) 08:47, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Greenhouse effect[edit]

If CO2 makes Earth heat up why is Mars so cold with most of it’s atmosphere being made up of CO2? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

The martian atmosphere is really thin. The effect is negligible. T.Neo (talk contribs review me ) 10:33, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

600 * 0.9532 gives you 571.92 Pa of CO2 for Mars compared to (400 / 1000000) * 101325 = 40.53 Pa for Earth. A doubling of CO2 adds 2C to atmospheric temperature, so Mars would have a CO2 greenhouse effect of 2*(2log(571.92/40.53)) = 4.6C. On Earth, the greenhouse effect is water vapor driven and responsible for +33C. The bottom line here is that CO2 is a bit player compared with H2O, not to mention convection. Water vapor is 0.0003* 600 = 0.18 Pa on Mars compared to 0.0040*101325 = 405.3 Pa on Earth, hence the Earth's much larger greenhouse effect. Kauffner (talk) 09:22, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your conclusion, but I think your calculation isn't quite correct: log2(571.92/40.53) is almost 4, so Mars would have a CO2 greenhouse effect of 7-8°C larger than Earth (ignoring water vapor). Anyway, the fact that Mars has more CO2 than Earth would be interesting enough to mention in the article IMO. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 17:23, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
There is also the fact that the greater distance of Mars from the sun greatly reduces its insolation relative to that of the Earth (it is less than half that of Earth: Earth at the orbital distance of Mars would very probably be a snowball even with current Earth CO2 levels. The abundance of water on Earth would increase the albedo, decreasing temperatures, in this instance. Orbitalforam (talk) 13:48, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Methane (again)[edit]

Lots of stuff on methane in the Martian atmosphere here, but is it not worth mentioning that the validity of these detections is also disputed? The arguments are pretty convincing, especially the basic arguments regarding the physical implausibility. Would only need a sentence somewhere.


See, e.g.,

DanHobley (talk) 15:15, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

That seems a very interesting paper and it is peer reviewed. Yes, there should be mention of it in this article. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:29, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I will shortly add the papers skeptic of methane in the atmosphere. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 18:03, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Hydrogen/Oxygen atmosphere[edit]

Mars 2 and Mars 3 found atomic hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere (see Mars 2), but this is not mentioned in this article. Why? --Cowlinator (talk) 17:39, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I think "hydrogen/oxygen atmosphere" is putting it a bit strongly. IIRC these will only be at trace amounts (amongst CO2), but is interesting because of the possible implications for water, and to a lesser extent, ozone. I suspect it's not there because a. there's nowhere it would sit as the article is currently structured, and b. this kind of thing is a pain to describe clearly and incisively, as it's complicated. In a general sense though, I think a section of the photochemistry and compositional structure of the martian atmosphere would definitely be warranted - though it's not me who's going to write it! There's definitely a substantial, active research community looking into just this kind of thing at the moment. DanHobley (talk) 00:35, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Atmospheric loss[edit]

Is it just me, or are points 2 and 3 in the history section the same thing? Good spot from Voyajer that kinetic escape was missing though. DanHobley (talk) 22:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

How I read the sources was same protagonist (solar winds) but different methods: gradual erosion (ongoing) vs. significant erosion of plasmoids (chunks of atmosphere) previously. This needs to be clarified in the article, yes. FloreatAntiquaDomus 08:39, 30 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by FloreatAntiquaDomus (talkcontribs)

Better sunset[edit]

gamma 1.2 version

Here I replaced the somewhat low quality crop with this lossless crop - the older image had annoying JPEG artefacts and had been overly brightened in my opinion. On my monitor I can see the details in the dark parts fine, but in case it is too dark for others I have also uploaded a more modestly brightened version (see right) as an alternative - I used gamma 1.2 because 1.3 or higher produced a washed out effect to me. -84user (talk) 05:27, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Relatively thin?[edit]

The opening line and a later photo of this article says mars atmosphere is "relatively thin", but then it goes on to say the scale height is higher than the earth's. By relatively thin do we mean the air is less dense? It seems contradictory as it now stands. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:48, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

SVG version of a chart[edit]

I've made an SVG version of this image. Do you think it's a good replacement?

PIA16460 Mars Atmophere Gases 20121102

melikamp (talk) 16:37, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

FWIW - Thanks for your effort of course - nonetheless, I prefer the original JPG version at this time - in any regards - Thanks again - and - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 17:14, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Why, though? I think my image is superior already, since it omits byzantine graphics. Is there anything I can change about the SVG image to make it preferable? melikamp (talk) 17:19, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Good, but some suggestions though:
  1. Make all text only with <text>, and there is no need to embed fonts or glyphs;
  2. Make columns coloured (e.g. CO2 Ar N2 O2 CO);
  3. Make substances’ symbols more prominent;
  4. Crop it – do not waste precious space.
Incnis Mrsi (talk) 19:09, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Use larger print. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 19:38, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

New paper: atmosphere 'oxygen-rich' before Earth's[edit]

This new paper may be of interest to the main editors of this article: "Early Mars atmosphere 'oxygen-rich' before Earth's " Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 23:49, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Malware Link Removal[edit]

--Gary Dee 18:37, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

NASA says this page is out of date and to "get on it"[edit]

The results from Curiosity are rife in this talk page and the article itself, but the article still lists atmospheric composition with Nitrogen as the 2nd most abundant, with a reference to a 2006 paper. This would seem to qualify as out-of-date, and the data from Curiosity should replace it. This was said by the MSL Deputy Project Scientist in a public talk. The talk is called "Curiosity's First Year on Mars" on the JPL youtube channel and it was said at the 38m10s mark. I haven't posted a link because the spam filter won't let me. -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 17:39, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

[6] and [7]Reatlas (talk) 02:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
 Done The article has been updated. Good work! -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 13:17, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Good catch. Thank you!. BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:02, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

To do[edit]

  • 20 references to convert to Citation Style 1 templates.
  • Expand et al. to full author list.
  • Add archive URLs where available.
  • Fix ALL CAPS title. -- (talk) 00:32, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

NASA-TV/ustream (Friday, 11/07/2014@12pm/et/usa) - C/2013 A1 Flyby of Mars - Telecon.[edit]

NASA-TV/ustream (Friday, November 7, 2014@12pm/et/usa) - experts provide initial science observations of comet C/2013 A1 close flyby of Mars on October 19, 2014 and the Martian atmosphere.[1] - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 03:17, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

FOLLOWUP - Space Experts Discuss the Effects on the Martian atmosphere of the Comet C/2013 A1 Flyby of Mars on October 19, 2014[2] - Archived Discussion => Audio (with visuals; 60:21) - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 19:47, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ Dyches, Preston; Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne; Jones, Nancy Neal; Zubritsky, Elizabeth (November 5, 2014). "NASA Telecon to Discuss Mars Comet Flyby Science". NASA. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Chang, Kenneth (November 7, 2014). "Opportunity, Curiosity, but No View of Mars Sky Show". New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 


A request was made for a new infobox, but can't find one suitable. Any suggestions? FriarTuck1981 (talk) 01:53, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

I suggest the creation of a new infobox template, Template:Infobox atmosphere, and that it be added to all atmosphere articles (see Category:Planetary atmospheres). --JorisvS (talk) 09:48, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed that a new infobox template would be suitable. See my comments here. --Liam McM (Talk) 15:35, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Infobox replaced with new template. --Liam McM (Talk|Contribs) 14:01, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

Methane status[edit]

@BatteryIncluded: Why exactly was this necessary? A single in-situ result is does not equate universal truth, particularly given the history of conflicting results on this matter.--Anders Feder (talk) 21:52, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I fugure that positive in situ results from many months supersede the opinion of one scientist. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 21:57, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't seem much reason to assume that it does, but we'll see how it develops.--Anders Feder (talk) 22:28, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

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