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Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites

Vasavada, Ashwin R. and Williams, Jean-Pierre and Paige, David A. and Herkenhoff, Ken E. and Bridges, Nathan T. and Greeley, Ronald and Murray, Bruce C. and Bass, Deborah S. and McBride, Karen S. (2000) Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 105 (E3). pp. 6961-6969. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/1999JE001108.

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On December 3, 1999, the Mars Polar Lander and Mars Microprobes will land on the planet's south polar layered deposits near (76°S, 195°W) and conduct the first in situ studies of the planet's polar regions. The scientific goals of these missions address several poorly understood and globally significant issues, such as polar meteorology, the composition and volatile content of the layered deposits, the erosional state and mass balance of their surface, their possible relationship to climate cycles, and the nature of bright and dark aeolian material. Derived thermal inertias of the southern layered deposits are very low (50–100 J m^(−2) s^(−1/2) K^(−1)), suggesting that the surface down to a depth of a few centimeters is generally fine grained or porous and free of an appreciable amount of rock or ice. The landing site region is smoother than typical cratered terrain on ∼1 km pixel^(−1) Viking Orbiter images but contains low-relief texture on ∼5 to 100 m pixel^(−1) Mariner 9 and Mars Global Surveyor images. The surface of the southern deposits is older than that of the northern deposits and appears to be modified by aeolian erosion or ablation of ground ice.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Vasavada, Ashwin R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Williams, Jean-Pierre0000-0001-5058-695X
Herkenhoff, Ken E.0000-0002-3153-6663
Bridges, Nathan T.0000-0002-6790-6793
Additional Information:© 2000 American Geophysical Union. Received June 8, 1999; revised October 11, 1999; accepted October 12, 1999. Paper number 1999JE001108. This work was part of the Mars Polar Lander site selection effort. A.V. was supported by NASA grant NAGW 5-4367. We gratefully acknowledge the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter and the Mars Orbiter Camera teams, especially David Smith, Maria Zuber, and Michael Malin for sharing their results and acquiring excellent data in support of the landing site selection. Gary Hansen and Alan Howard provided valuable reviews of the manuscript
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Issue or Number:E3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140522-101619178
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Official Citation:Vasavada, A. R., J.-P. Williams, D. A. Paige, K. E. Herkenhoff, N. T. Bridges, R. Greeley, B. C. Murray, D. S. Bass, and K. S. McBride (2000), Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites, J. Geophys. Res., 105(E3), 6961–6969, doi:10.1029/1999JE001108.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45889
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:27 May 2014 17:22
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:17

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