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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.

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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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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High-resolution Martian soil thickness derived from yearly surface temperatures

Description

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the

The temperature of a planet's surface depends on numerous physical factors, including thermal inertia, albedo and the degree of insolation. Mars is a good target for thermal measurements because the low atmospheric pressure combined with the extreme dryness results in a surface dominated by large differences in thermal inertia, minimizing the effect of other physical properties. Since heat is propagated into the surface during the day and re-radiated at night, surface temperatures are affected by sub-surface properties down to several thermal skin depths. Because of this, orbital surface temperature measurements combined with a computational thermal model can be used to determine sub-surface structure. This technique has previously been applied to estimate the thickness and thermal inertia of soil layers on Mars on a regional scale, but the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System "THEMIS" instrument allows much higher-resolution thermal imagery to be obtained. Using archived THEMIS data and the KRC thermal model, a process has been developed for creating high-resolution maps of Martian soil layer thickness and thermal inertia, allowing investigation of the distribution of dust and sand at a scale of 100 m/pixel.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Assessing martian bedrock mineralogy through "windows" in the dust using near- and thermal infrared remote sensing

Description

Much of Mars' surface is mantled by bright dust, which masks the spectral features used to interpret the mineralogy of the underlying bedrock. Despite the wealth of near-infrared (NIR) and

Much of Mars' surface is mantled by bright dust, which masks the spectral features used to interpret the mineralogy of the underlying bedrock. Despite the wealth of near-infrared (NIR) and thermal infrared data returned from orbiting spacecraft in recent decades, the detailed bedrock composition of approximately half of the martian surface remains relatively unknown due to dust cover. To address this issue, and to help gain a better understanding of the bedrock mineralogy in dusty regions, data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) Dust Cover Index (DCI) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI) were used to identify 63 small localized areas within the classical bright dusty regions of Arabia Terra, Elysium Planitia, and Tharsis as potential "windows" through the dust; that is, areas where the dust cover is thin enough to permit infrared remote sensing of the underlying bedrock. The bedrock mineralogy of each candidate "window" was inferred using processed spectra from the Mars Express (MEx) Observatoire pour la Mineralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité (OMEGA) NIR spectrometer and, where possible, TES. 12 areas of interest returned spectra that are consistent with mineral species expected to be present at the regional scale, such as high- and low-calcium pyroxene, olivine, and iron-bearing glass. Distribution maps were created using previously defined index parameters for each species present within an area. High-quality TES spectra, if present within an area of interest, were deconvolved to estimate modal mineralogy and support NIR results. OMEGA data from Arabia Terra and Elysium Planitia are largely similar and indicate the presence of high-calcium pyroxene with significant contributions of glass and olivine, while TES data suggest an intermediate between the established southern highlands and Syrtis Major compositions. Limited data from Tharsis indicate low-calcium pyroxene mixed with lesser amounts of high-calcium pyroxene and perhaps glass. TES data from southern Tharsis correlate well with the previously inferred compositions of the Aonium and Mare Sirenum highlands immediately to the south.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014