InSight Mars lander optical depths

Published: 3 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/7fn53rjdpc.1
Mark Lemmon


This data set includes optical depths measured by the InSight lander's Instrument Deployment and Context Cameras and supporting data. The measurements were made using radiative-transfer models of sky brightness. The results show typical Martian seasonal patterns and specifically resemble those made by the Curiosity rover, about 600 km to the south (Lemmon et al., 2024; see also


Steps to reproduce

The optical depth values in insight_tau.csv were derived from sky images taken by the InSight cameras (Maki et al. 2018). Data processing is described by Maki et al. The method to derive optical depth is described by Wolfe and Lemmon (2023). In short, a radiative-transfer model was used to calculate sky brightness; this was iterated for different optical depths until the relative slope of sky brightness with elevation angle (at constant scattering angle) was fit. The method is robust against errors or time variation in the aerosol phase function, as shown in Wolfe and Lemmon. The phase function used for this study, based on Tomakso et al. (1999), is provided in scat-insight.txt. Lemmon, M.T., S.D. Guzewich, J.M. Battalio, M.C. Malin, A. Vicente-Retortillo, M.-P. Zorzano, J. Martín-Torres, R. Sullivan, J.N. Maki, M.D. Smith, J.F. Bell III (2024). The Mars Science Laboratory record of optical depth measurements via solar imaging. Icarus, 408, 115821. Maki, J.N., M. Golombek, R. Deen, H. Abarca, C. Sorice, T. Goodsall, M. Schwochert, M. Lemmon, A. Trebi-Ollennu, and W.B. Banerdt (2018). The color cameras on the InSight lander. Space Sci. Rev. 214, 105. DOI: 10.1007/s11214-018-0536-z. Tomasko, M.G., L.R. Doose, M.T. Lemmon, P.H. Smith, and E. Wegryn 1999. Properties of dust in the martian atmosphere from the Imager for Mars Pathfinder. J. Geophys. Res., 104, 8987-9007, doi: 10.1029/1998JE900016. Wolfe, C.A., and M.T. Lemmon (2023). Using Engineering Cameras on Mars Rovers and Landers to Retrieve Atmospheric Dust Loading. Planet. & Space Sci. 235, 105741.


Space Science Institute


Atmospheric Aerosol, Dust, Mars, Ice


National Aeronautics and Space Administration