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Absorption Spectra of Martian Dust Simulants



James Radney, Christopher D. Zangmeister


Understanding the climate of Mars requires a detailed understanding of the optical properties of Martian dust as it is a ubiquitous component of the atmosphere. The need for a consensus motivates measurements of terrestrial simulants under controlled conditions. We demonstrate an in-situ method to entrain and directly measure the absorption spectrum of six Martian dust simulants using photoacoustic spectroscopy. Measured absorption cross-sections (Cabs) were used in Mie theory calculations to retrieve the imaginary component of the refractive index (k) of each sample while constraining the real component to n = 1.5; the refractive index of silica. The weakly absorbing simulants have k values ranging between 0.002 and 0.03 at λ = 500 nm.
ACS Earth and Space Chemistry


Mars, dust, absorption, absorption


Radney, J. and Zangmeister, C. (2022), Absorption Spectra of Martian Dust Simulants, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, [online],, (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created February 18, 2022, Updated February 21, 2023