Results from the dynamic albedo of neutrons (DAN) passive mode experiment: Yellowknife Bay to Amargosa Valley (Sols 201–753)

C. G. Tate, J. Moersch, I. Mitrofanov, M. Litvak, P. Bellutta, W. V. Boynton, D. Drake, B. Ehresmann, F. Fedosov, D. Golovin, Craig Hardgrove, K. Harshman, D. M. Hassler, I. Jun, A. S. Kozyrev, D. Lisov, A. Malakhov, D. W. Ming, M. Mischna, M. MokrousovS. Nikiforov, A. B. Sanin, R. Starr, A. Vostrukhin, C. Zeitlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover) Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment detects neutrons for the purpose of searching for hydrogen in the shallow subsurface of Mars. DAN has two modes of operation, active and passive. In passive mode, the instrument detects neutrons produced by Galactic Cosmic Ray interactions in the atmosphere and regolith and by the rover's Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. DAN passive data from Yellowknife Bay to Amargosa Valley (sols 201 through 753) are presented and analyzed here. Water equivalent hydrogen (WEH) estimates from this portion of Curiosity's traverse range from 0.0 wt. % up to 15.3 wt. %. Typical uncertainties on these WEH estimates are ∼0.5 wt. % but in some cases can be as high as ∼4.0 wt. % depending on the specific circumstances of a given measurement. Here we also present a new way of reporting results from the passive mode of the experiment, the DAN passive geochemical index (DPGI). This index is sensitive to some key geochemical variations, but it does not require assumptions about the abundances of high thermal neutron absorption cross section elements, which are needed to estimate WEH. DPGI variations in this section of the traverse indicate that the shallow regolith composition is changing on both the local (∼meters) and regional (∼100 s of meters) scales. This variability is thought to be representative of the diverse composition of source regions for sediments within the crater floor. Kolmogorov-Smirnov Tests on the populations of WEH estimates and DPGI values demonstrate there are statistically significant differences between nearly all of the geologic units investigated along the rover's traverse. We also present updated previous DAN passive results from Bradbury Landing to John Klein that make use of revised DAN active mode results for calibration, however, no qualitative changes in the interpretations made in Tate et al. (2015b) are incurred.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-537
Number of pages25
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Cosmic rays
  • Mars
  • Mars, surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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