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

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets

By:
, , , , , , , ,
DOI: 10.1029/1999JE001108

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Abstract

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.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI:
10.1029/1999JE001108
Volume
105
Issue:
E3
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
First page:
6961
Last page:
6969
Number of Pages:
9