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Rock Size-frequency Distributions of the InSight Landing Site, Mars

Golombek, M. P. and Trussell, A. and Williams, N. and Charalambous, C. and Abarca, H. and Warner, N. H. and Deahn, M. and Trautman, M. and Crocco, R. and Grant, J. A. and Hauber, E. and Deen, R. (2021) Rock Size-frequency Distributions of the InSight Landing Site, Mars. . (Unpublished)

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Rocks around the InSight lander were measured in lander orthoimages of the near field (<10 m), in panoramas of the far field (<40 m), and in a high-resolution orbital image around the lander (1 km²). The cumulative fractional area versus diameter size-frequency distributions for four areas in the near field fall on exponential model curves used for estimating hazards for landing spacecraft. The rock abundance varies in the near field from 0.6% for the sand and pebble rich area to the east within Homestead hollow, to ~3-5% for the progressively rockier areas to the south, north and west. The rock abundance of the entire near field is just over 3%, which falls between that at the Phoenix (2%) and Spirit (5%) landing sites. Rocks in the far field (<40 m) that could be identified in both the surface panorama and a high-resolution orbital image fall on the same exponential model curve as the average near field rocks. Rocks measured in a high-resolution orbital image (27.5 cm/pixel) within ~500 m of the lander that includes several rocky ejecta craters fall on 4-5% exponential model curves, similar to the northern and western near field areas. As a result, the rock abundances observed from orbit falls on the same exponential model rock abundance curves as those viewed from the surface. These rock abundance measurements around the lander are consistent with thermal imaging estimates over larger pixel areas as well as expectations from fragmentation theory of an impacted Amazonian/Hesperian lava flow.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemData
Golombek, M. P.0000-0002-1928-2293
Williams, N.0000-0003-0602-484X
Charalambous, C.0000-0002-9139-3895
Warner, N. H.0000-0002-7615-2524
Deahn, M.0000-0002-2202-0067
Grant, J. A.0000-0001-8276-1281
Hauber, E.0000-0002-1375-304X
Deen, R.0000-0002-5693-641X
Additional Information:License: Attribution 4.0 International. Published Online: Tue, 3 Aug 2021. A portion of this work was supported by the InSight Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank Alfred McEwen for information and discussion about the HiRISE camera. This paper is InSight Contribution Number ICN‐204. Data Availability Statement: All InSight image data discussed in this paper are in the Planetary Data System Geosciences node (https:// pds‐ All other Mars imaging data are in the Cartography and Imaging Node (https://pds‐ The HiRISE orthoimage and DEM in which the lander is located are available at (Fergason et al., 2017), and other HiRISE images acquired are available via the HiRISE website at The HiRISE orthoimage and DEM produced by Fergason et al. (2017) in which the lander is located are also available in Golombek (2020). The morning, midday (afternoon) and evening InSight IDC panoramas used to create Figures 7–14 are also available in Golombek (2020). The IDC orthomosaic, DEM and shape files of rocks measured in the near field (Figure 1) are available in Golombek (2021).
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210823-183722868
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110385
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Aug 2021 18:54
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:40

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