During the Martian landings the descent engine plumes on Viking Lander 1 (VL-1) and Viking Lander 2 (VL-2) eroded the Martian surface materials. This had been anticipated and investigated both analytically and experimentally during the design phase of the Viking spacecraft. This paper presents data on erosion obtained during the tests of the Viking descent engine and the evidence for erosion by the descent engines of VL-1 and VL-2 on Mars. From these and other results, it is concluded that there are four distinct surface materials on Mars: (1) drift material, (2) crusty to cloddy material, (3) blocky material, and (4) rock. ?? 1980 D. Reidel Publishing Co.
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Surface erosion caused on Mars from Viking descent engine plume