In-situ observations of the physical properties of the Martian surface

By: , and 
Edited by: Jim Bell



The physical properties of rocks and soils on the surface of Mars have been investigated by several landed spacecraft. Studies of these physical properties constrain interpretation of Martian geologic processes and provide engineering data for future mission planning. As on Earth, these properties vary considerably from place to place, and provide constraints on the origin and evolution of the surface materials. Martian soils commonly have thin surface crusts that may be caused by salts cementing grains together. Estimates of soil physical properties at the various landing sites are generally comparable, but rather uncertain in many cases. Rock physical properties, based on abrasion by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and other experiments, vary widely.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title In-situ observations of the physical properties of the Martian surface
Chapter 21
DOI 10.1017/CBO9780511536076.021
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title The martian surface: Composition, mineralogy, and physical properties
First page 451
Last page 467
Other Geospatial Mars