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Observations of the North Polar Region of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

Zuber, Maria T. and Smith, David E. and Solomon, Sean C. and Abshire, James B. and Afzal, Robert S. and Aharonson, Oded and Fishbaugh, Kathryn and Ford, Peter G. and Frey, Herbert V. and Garvin, James B. and Head, James W. and Ivanov, Anton B. and Johnson, Catherine L. and Muhleman, Duane O. and Neumann, Gregory A. and Pettengill, Gordon H. and Phillips, Roger J. and Sun, Xiaoli and Zwally, H. Jay and Banerdt, W. Bruce and Duxbury, Thomas H. (1998) Observations of the North Polar Region of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter. Science, 282 (5396). pp. 2053-2060. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.282.5396.2053.

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Elevations from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) have been used to construct a precise topographic map of the martian north polar region. The northern ice cap has a maximum elevation of 3 kilometers above its surroundings but lies within a 5-kilometer-deep hemispheric depression that is contiguous with the area into which most outflow channels emptied. Polar cap topography displays evidence of modification by ablation, flow, and wind and is consistent with a primarily H₂O composition. Correlation of topography with images suggests that the cap was more spatially extensive in the past. The cap volume of 1.2 × 10⁶ to 1.7 × 10⁶ cubic kilometers is about half that of the Greenland ice cap. Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO₂ that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter. Many clouds exhibit dynamical structure likely caused by the interaction of propagating wave fronts with surface topography.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Zuber, Maria T.0000-0003-2652-8017
Solomon, Sean C.0000-0001-8328-7251
Aharonson, Oded0000-0001-9930-2495
Garvin, James B.0000-0003-1606-5645
Head, James W.0000-0003-2013-560X
Neumann, Gregory A.0000-0003-0644-9944
Sun, Xiaoli0000-0001-6172-9995
Banerdt, W. Bruce0000-0003-3125-1542
Duxbury, Thomas H.0000-0002-4418-3297
Additional Information:© 1998 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 23 November 1998; accepted 3 December 1998. We thank the instrument, spacecraft, and mission operations engineers for their support of the MOLA investigation. We particularly thank G. Cunningham for agreeing to "tilt" the spacecraft to obtain the polar gap observations. We are also grateful to W. Durham for making available CO2 rheological data and M. Malin for permission to reference unpublished images. We acknowledge contributions from G. Elman, P. Jester, and J. Schott in altimetry processing; S. Sakimoto for image processing; J. Frawley for analysis software; and F. Lemoine, D. Rowlands, and S. Fricke for orbit determination. The MOLA investigation is supported by NASA's Mars Surveyor Program.
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
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Issue or Number:5396
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130128-105214414
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36621
Deposited On:28 Jan 2013 22:04
Last Modified:07 Mar 2023 23:25

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