Matching Items (34)

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Characterizing Diurnal Density and Temperature Variations in the Martian Atmosphere Using Data/Model Comparisons

Description

This project focuses on using Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) density data for carbon dioxide, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen during deep dip campaigns 5, 6, and 8. Density profiles obtained from NGIMS were plotted against simulated density

This project focuses on using Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) density data for carbon dioxide, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen during deep dip campaigns 5, 6, and 8. Density profiles obtained from NGIMS were plotted against simulated density profiles from the Mars Global Ionosphere-Thermosphere Model (MGITM). Averaged temperature profiles were also plotted for the three deep dip campaigns, using NGIMS data and MGITM output. MGITM was also used as a tool to uncover potential heat balance terms needed to reproduce the mean density and temperature profiles measured by NGIMS.

This method of using NGIMS data as a validation tool for MGITM simulations has been tested previously using dayside data from deep dip campaigns 2 and 8. In those cases, MGITM was able to accurately reproduce the measured density and temperature profiles; however, in the deep dip 5 and 6 campaigns, the results are not quite the same, due to the highly variable nature of the nightside thermosphere. MGITM was able to fairly accurately reproduce the density and temperature profiles for deep dip 5, but the deep dip 6 model output showed unexpected significant variation. The deep dip 6 results reveal possible changes to be made to MGITM to more accurately reflect the observed structure of the nighttime thermosphere. In particular, upgrading the model to incorporate a suitable gravity wave parameterization should better capture the role of global winds in maintaining the nighttime thermospheric structure.

This project reveals that there still exist many unknowns about the structure and dynamics of the night side of the Martian atmosphere, as well as significant diurnal variations in density. Further study is needed to uncover these unknowns and their role in atmospheric mass loss.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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INVESTIGATING THE DISTRIBUTION OF FROSTS IN RELATION TO PRESENT-DAY GULLY ACTIVITY ON MARS

Description

A wide range of types of activity in mid-latitude Martian gullies has been observed over the last decade (Malin et al., 2006; Harrison et al., 2009, 2015; Diniega et al., 2010; Dundas et al., 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017) with some

A wide range of types of activity in mid-latitude Martian gullies has been observed over the last decade (Malin et al., 2006; Harrison et al., 2009, 2015; Diniega et al., 2010; Dundas et al., 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017) with some activity constrained temporally to occur in the coldest times of year (winter and spring; Harrison et al., 2009; Diniega et al., 2010; Dundas et al., 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017), suggesting that surficial frosts that form seasonally and diurnally might play a key role in this present-day activity. Frost formation is highly dependent on two key factors: (1) surface temperature and (2) the atmospheric partial pressure of the condensable gas (Kieffer, 1968). The Martian atmosphere is primarily composed of CO2and CO2 frost formation is not diffusion-limited (unlike H2O). Hence, for temperatures less than the local frost point of CO2, (~ 148 K at a surface pressure of 610 Pa) frost is always present (Piqueux et al., 2016). Typically, these frosts are dominated volumetrically by CO2, although small amounts of H2O frosts are also present, and typically precede CO2 frost deposition (due to water’s higher condensation temperature (Schorghofer and Edgett, 2006)). Here we use the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) and the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) onboard Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor, respectively, to explore the global spatial and temporal variation of temperatures conducive to CO2 and H2O frost formation on Mars, and assess their distribution with gully landforms. CO2 frost temperatures are observed at all latitudes and are strongly correlated with dusty, low thermal inertia regions near the equator. Modeling results suggest that frost formation is restricted to the surface due to near-surface radiative effects. About 49 % of all gullies lie within THEMIS frost framelets. In terms of active gullies, 54 % of active gullies lie within THEMIS framelets, with 14.3% in the north and 54% in the south.
Relatively small amounts of H2O frost (~ 10–100 μm) are also likely to form diurnally and seasonally. The global H2O frost point distribution follows water vapor column abundance closely, with a weak correlation with local surface pressure. There is a strong hemispherical dependence on the frost point temperature—with the northern hemisphere having a higher frost point (in general) than the southern hemisphere—likely due to elevation differences. Unlike the distribution of CO2 frost temperatures, there is little to no correlation with surface thermophysical properties (thermal inertia, albedo, etc.). Modeling suggests H2O frosts can briefly attain melting point temperatures for a few hours if present under thin layers of dust, and can perhaps play a role in present-day equatorial mass-wasting events (eg. McEwen et al., 2018).
Based on seasonal constraints on gully activity timing, preliminary field studies, frost presence from visible imagery, spectral data and thermal data (this work), it is likely that most present-day activity can be explained by frosts (primarily CO2, and possibly H2O). We predict that the conditions necessary for significant present-day activity include formation of sufficient amounts of frost (> ~20 cm/year) within loose, unconsolidated sediments (I < ~ 350) on available slopes. However, whether or not present-day gully activity is representative of gully formation as a whole is still open to debate, and the details on CO2 frost-induced gully formation mechanisms remain unresolved.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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Mars Project

Description

This thesis presents the moral and ethical controversy surrounding the possibility of terraforming Mars and provides an overview of the 5 characteristics of Mars that can kill you – radiation, low atmospheric pressure, carbon dioxide, freezing temperatures, and dust –

This thesis presents the moral and ethical controversy surrounding the possibility of terraforming Mars and provides an overview of the 5 characteristics of Mars that can kill you – radiation, low atmospheric pressure, carbon dioxide, freezing temperatures, and dust – should man embark on the journey. It presents these issues in written form, by storyboard, extensive graphics, and in a WIKI.

Ethical Considerations: The thesis presents the three main threads of thought regarding terraforming – that we should because it is there and man – superior to all other forms of life – wants challenges; that we should not since we are not superior to other forms of life and have no right; and the middle position – that we should be able to terraform Mars only if we clean up our act on Earth first. This is the point of view taken by the author of the thesis.

5 Ways Mars Can Kill You: the essay portion of the thesis is an overview of the research regarding the main obstacles to terraforming Mars and potential solutions.

Storyboard: Depicts the ethical efforts one must achieve before traveling to Mars as well as the process of terraforming – all images in chronological order.

Graphics: A series of Illustrator/Photoshop graphics moves the reader through the problems we have here on Earth that must be solved before terraforming, the process of getting to Mars and the activities involved in making her inhabitable for man.

WIKI: The WIKI showcases thesis material in a more interactive manner. JavaScript animations run throughout the WIKI and the user is able to create posts within the website – which acts as a forum.

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Created

Date Created
2018-12

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Analyzing the Challenges and Solutions of Living on Mars

Description

This paper addresses many of the problems that will be encountered when travelling to Mars and discusses the possibility of different solutions. Protection from radiation, oxygen production, and water sources are some of the major problems and the solution to

This paper addresses many of the problems that will be encountered when travelling to Mars and discusses the possibility of different solutions. Protection from radiation, oxygen production, and water sources are some of the major problems and the solution to these problems are vital for the success of future space travel. By utilizing technology that has already been used in space travel and implementing the use of technology that is successful on Earth, humans will be able to live on Mars successfully.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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The ancient rocky surfaces of Mars: analysis of spacecraft data and the development of laboratory instrumentation

Description

Early spacecraft missions to Mars, including the Marnier and Viking orbiters and landers revealed a morphologically and compositionally diverse landscape that reshaped widely held views of Mars. More recent spacecraft including Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance

Early spacecraft missions to Mars, including the Marnier and Viking orbiters and landers revealed a morphologically and compositionally diverse landscape that reshaped widely held views of Mars. More recent spacecraft including Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Exploration Rovers have further refined, enhanced, and diversified our understanding of Mars. In this dissertation, I take a multiple-path approach to planetary and Mars science including data analysis and instrument development. First, I present several tools necessary to effectively use new, complex datasets by highlighting unique and innovative data processing techniques that allow for the regional to global scale comparison of multiple datasets. Second, I present three studies that characterize several processes on early Mars, where I identify a regional, compositionally distinct, in situ, stratigraphically significant layer in Ganges and Eos Chasmata that formed early in martian history. This layer represents a unique period in martian history where primitive mantle materials were emplaced over large sections of the martian surface. While I originally characterized this layer as an effusive lava flow, based on the newly identified regional or global extent of this layer, I find the only likely scenario for its emplacement is the ejecta deposit of the Borealis Basin forming impact event. I also re-examine high thermal inertia, flat-floored craters identified in Viking data and conclude they are typically more mafic than the surrounding plains and were likely infilled by primitive volcanic materials during, or shortly after the Late Heavy Bombardment. Furthermore, the only plausible source for these magmas is directly related to the impact process, where mantle decompression melting occurs as result of the removal of overlying material by the impactor. Finally, I developed a new laboratory microscopic emission and reflectance spectrometer designed to help improve the interpretation of current remote sensing or in situ data from planetary bodies. I present the design, implementation, calibration, system performance, and preliminary results of this instrument. This instrument is a strong candidate for the next generation in situ rover instruments designed to definitively assess sample mineralogy and petrology while preserving geologic context.

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Date Created
2012

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MODELING OF LONG-TERM RECLAMATION PROCESSES ON MARTIAN REGOLITH FOR SUSTAINABLE MARTIAN AGRICULTURE

Description

To successfully launch and maintain a long-term colony on Mars, Martian agricultural systems need to be capable of sustaining human life without requiring expensive deliveries from Earth. There is a need for more studies on this topic to make this

To successfully launch and maintain a long-term colony on Mars, Martian agricultural systems need to be capable of sustaining human life without requiring expensive deliveries from Earth. There is a need for more studies on this topic to make this a feasible mission. This thesis aims to study from a high level one such agricultural system, specifically examining the requirements and flow of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium required to sustain a given human colony size. We developed a Microsoft Excel based model that relates human nutritional needs to the amount available in food crops and in turn the amount of Martian soil required for agriculture. The model works by inputting the number of humans, and then utilizing the built-in calculations and datasets to determine how much of each nutrient is needed to meet all nutritional needs of the colony. Using that information, it calculates the amount of plants needed to supply the nutrition and then calculates the amount of nutrients that would be taken from the soil. It compares the Martian regolith to the nutrient uptake, accounting for inedible biomass from the plants and human waste that can be added to the regolith. Any deficiencies are used to determine if and how much fertilizer should be added to the system initially and over time. Using the total amount of plants and the number of harvests, the amount of Martian land required for sustaining the colony is computed. These results can be used as a building block to enable the successful design of an agricultural system on Mars.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Brine Stability at Recurring Slope Lineae in Valles Marineris, Mars

Description

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are dark, narrow features which form on steep Martian slopes during warm seasons, lengthening, fade in cold seasons and recurring annually. There are many hypotheses on the formation mechanism of RSL. A number of these hypotheses

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are dark, narrow features which form on steep Martian slopes during warm seasons, lengthening, fade in cold seasons and recurring annually. There are many hypotheses on the formation mechanism of RSL. A number of these hypotheses suggest that RSL are liquid brines flowing on the surface. Brine based hypotheses often state that sub-surface aquifers are necessary to supply the water needed to recharge RSL. One problem with this is that RSL are observed forming on isolated peaks and ridgelines where a sub-surface aquifer is unlikely. This study uses a thermal model called KRC to examine the correlation between RSL activity and surface temperature at several RSL sites in Valles Marineris. This correlation is compared to the freezing temperature of several brines. Results show an interesting relationship between RSL activity and the surface temperature of very steep (> 60º) slopes. This could indicate that RSL are caused by thermal stresses loosening material on the face of bedrock outcroppings instead of briny flows.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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Investigating Late Amazonian Volcanotectonic Activity on Olympus Mons, Mars Using Flank Vents and Arcuate Graben

Description

Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars. Previous studies have focused on large scale features on Olympus Mons, such as the basal escarpment, summit caldera complex and aureole deposits. My objective was to identify and characterize previously

Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars. Previous studies have focused on large scale features on Olympus Mons, such as the basal escarpment, summit caldera complex and aureole deposits. My objective was to identify and characterize previously unrecognized and unmapped small scale features to understand the volcanotectonic evolution of this enormous volcano. For this study I investigated flank vents and arcuate graben. Flank vents are a common feature on composite volcanoes on Earth. They provide information on the volatile content of magmas, the propagation of magma in the subsurface and the tectonic stresses acting on the volcano. Graben are found at a variety of scales in close proximity to Martian volcanoes. They can indicate flexure of the lithosphere in response to the load of the volcano or gravitation spreading of the edifice. Using Context Camera (CTX), High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), High Resolution Stereo Camera Digital Terrain Model (HRSC DTM) and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data, I have identified and characterized the morphology and distribution of 60 flank vents and 84 arcuate graben on Olympus Mons. Based on the observed vent morphologies, I conclude that effusive eruptions have dominated on Olympus Mons in the Late Amazonian, with flank vents playing a limited role. The spatial distribution of flank vents suggests shallow source depths and radial dike propagation. Arcuate graben, not previously observed in lower resolution datasets, occur on the lower flanks of Olympus Mons and indicate a recent extensional state of stress. Based on spatial and superposition relationships, I have constructed a developmental sequence for the construction of Olympus Mons: 1) Construction of the shield via effusive lava flows.; 2) Formation of the near summit thrust faults (flank terraces); 3) Flank failure leading to scarp formation and aureole deposition; 4) Late Amazonian effusive resurfacing and formation of flank vents; 5) Subsidence of the caldera, waning volcanism and graben formation. This volcanotectonic evolution closely resembles that proposed on Ascraeus Mons. Extensional tectonism may continue to affect the lower flanks of Olympus Mons today.

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Date Created
2015

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The effects of chemical weathering on thermal-infrared spectral data and models: implications for aqueous processes on the Martian surface

Description

Chemical and mineralogical data from Mars shows that the surface has been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical trends and the types of chemical weathering products present on the surface and their abundances can elucidate information about past

Chemical and mineralogical data from Mars shows that the surface has been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical trends and the types of chemical weathering products present on the surface and their abundances can elucidate information about past aqueous processes. Thermal-infrared (TIR) data and their respective models are essential for interpreting Martian mineralogy and geologic history. However, previous studies have shown that chemical weathering and the precipitation of fine-grained secondary silicates can adversely affect the accuracy of TIR spectral models. Furthermore, spectral libraries used to identify minerals on the Martian surface lack some important weathering products, including poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates like allophane, thus eliminating their identification in TIR spectral models. It is essential to accurately interpret TIR spectral data from chemically weathered surfaces to understand the evolution of aqueous processes on Mars. Laboratory experiments were performed to improve interpretations of TIR data from weathered surfaces. To test the accuracy of deriving chemistry of weathered rocks from TIR spectroscopy, chemistry was derived from TIR models of weathered basalts from Baynton, Australia and compared to actual weathering rind chemistry. To determine how specific secondary silicates affect the TIR spectroscopy of weathered basalts, mixtures of basaltic minerals and small amounts of secondary silicates were modeled. Poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates were synthesized and their TIR spectra were added to spectral libraries. Regional Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data were modeled using libraries containing these poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates to test for their presence on the Mars. Chemistry derived from models of weathered Baynton basalts is not accurate, but broad chemical weathering trends can be interpreted from the data. TIR models of mineral mixtures show that small amounts of crystalline and amorphous silicate weathering products (2.5-5 wt.%) can be detected in TIR models and can adversely affect modeled plagioclase abundances. Poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates are identified in Northern Acidalia, Solis Planum, and Meridiani. Previous studies have suggested that acid sulfate weathering was the dominant surface alteration process for the past 3.5 billion years; however, the identification of allophane indicates that alteration at near-neutral pH occurred on regional scales and that acid sulfate weathering is not the only weathering process on Mars.

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Date Created
2011

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Distribution of windblown sediment in small craters on Mars

Description

Many shallow craters near the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover landing site contain asymmetric deposits of windblown sediments which could indicate the predominant local wind direction at the time of deposition or redistribution. Wind tunnel simulations and field studies of

Many shallow craters near the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover landing site contain asymmetric deposits of windblown sediments which could indicate the predominant local wind direction at the time of deposition or redistribution. Wind tunnel simulations and field studies of terrestrial craters were used to determine trends in deposition as a function of crater morphometry and wind direction. Terrestrial analog field work at the Amboy lava field, Mojave Desert, California, included real-time wind measurements and assessments of active sediment deposition in four small (<100 m) craters. Preliminary results indicate that reverse flow or stagnant wind and deposition on the upwind side of the crater floor occurs in craters with depth-to-diameter (d/D) ratios ≥0.05. Measurements taken within a crater of d/D of ~0.02 do not indicate reverse flow. Therefore, reverse flow is expected to cease within a d/D range of 0.02 to 0.05, resulting in wind movement directly over the crater floor in the downwind direction with no asymmetric sediment deposition. Wind tunnel simulations using six crater models, including a scaled model of a crater from the Amboy lava field, were completed to assess the wind flow in and around craters as a function of crater morphometry (depth, diameter). Reverse flow occurred in craters with d/D ratios ≥0.033, resulting in sediment deposition in the upwind portion of the crater floor. Visual observations of a crater with a d/D of ~0.020 did not indicate reverse flow, similar to the results of field studies; therefore, reverse flow appears to cease within a d/D range of 0.020 to 0.033. Craters with asymmetric aeolian deposits near the Mars Spirit landing site have d/D ratios of 0.034 to 0.076, suggesting that reverse flow occurs in these craters. Thus, the position of windblown sediments in the northwest parts of the crater floors would indicate prevailing winds from the northwest to the southeast, consistent with late afternoon winds as predicted by the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) circulation model.

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Date Created
2011