Search for hydrogen peroxide in the martian atmosphere by the planetary fourier spectrometer onboard mars express

Shohei Aoki, Marco Giuranna, Yasumasa Kasaba, Hiromu Nakagawa, Giuseppe Sindoni, Anna Geminale, Vittorio Formisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We searched for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the Martian atmosphere using data measured by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) onboard Mars Express during five martian years (MY27-31). It is well known that H2O2 plays a key role in the oxidizing capacity of the Martian atmosphere. However, only a few studies based on ground-based observations can be found in the literature. Here, we performed the first analysis of H2O2 using long-term measurements by a spacecraft-borne instrument. We used the ν4 band of H2O2 in the spectral range between 359cm-1 and 382cm-1 where strong features of H2O2 are present around 362cm-1 and 379cm-1. Since the features were expected to be very weak even at the strong band, sensitive data calibrations were performed and a large number of spectra were selected and averaged. We made three averaged spectra for different seasons over relatively low latitudes (50°S-50°N). We found features of H2O2 at 379cm-1, whereas no clear features were detected at 362cm-1 due to large amounts of uncertainty in the data. The derived mixing ratios of H2O2 were close to the detection limits: 16±19ppb at Ls=0-120°, 35±32ppb at Ls=120-240°, and 41±28ppb at Ls=240-360°. The retrieved value showed the detection of H2O2 only for the third seasonal period, and the values in the other periods provided the upper limits. These long-term averaged abundances derived by the PFS generally agreed with the ones reported by ground-based observations. From our derived mixing ratio of H2O2, the lifetime of CH4 in the Martian atmosphere is estimated to be several decades in the shortest case. Our results and sporadic detections of CH4 suggest the presence of strong CH4 sinks not subject to atmospheric oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1


  • Atmospheres, chemistry
  • Atmospheres, composition
  • Mars
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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