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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 low atmospheric pressure combined with the extreme dryness results in

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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Date Created
2013

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Heat and mass transfer on planetary surfaces

Description

Planetary surface studies across a range of spatial scales are key to interpreting modern and ancient operative processes and to meeting strategic mission objectives for robotic planetary science exploration. At the meter-scale and below, planetary regolith conducts heat at a

Planetary surface studies across a range of spatial scales are key to interpreting modern and ancient operative processes and to meeting strategic mission objectives for robotic planetary science exploration. At the meter-scale and below, planetary regolith conducts heat at a rate that depends on the physical properties of the regolith particles, such as particle size, sorting, composition, and shape. Radiometric temperature measurements thus provide the means to determine regolith properties and rock abundance from afar. However, heat conduction through a matrix of irregular particles is a complicated physical system that is strongly influenced by temperature and atmospheric gas pressure. A series of new regolith thermal conductivity experiments were conducted under realistic planetary surface pressure and temperature conditions. A new model is put forth to describe the radiative, solid, and gaseous conduction terms of regolith on Earth, Mars, and airless bodies. These results will be used to infer particle size distribution from temperature measurements of the primitive asteroid Bennu to aid in OSIRIS-REx sampling site selection. Moving up in scale, fluvial processes are extremely influential in shaping Earth's surface and likely played an influential role on ancient Mars. Amphitheater-headed canyons are found on both planets, but conditions necessary for their development have been debated for many years. A spatial analysis of canyon form distribution with respect to local stratigraphy at the Escalante River and on Tarantula Mesa, Utah, indicates that canyon distribution is most closely related to variations in local rock strata, rather than groundwater spring intensity or climate variations. This implies that amphitheater-headed canyons are not simple markers of groundwater seepage erosion or megaflooding. Finally, at the largest scale, volcanism has significantly altered the surface characteristics of Earth and Mars. A field campaign was conducted in Hawaii to investigate the December 1974 Kilauea lava flow, where it was found that lava coils formed in an analogous manner to those found in Athabasca Valles, Mars. The location and size of the coils may be used as indicators of local effusion rate, viscosity, and crustal thickness.

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Date Created
2018

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Planetary Geological Science and Aerospace Systems Engineering Applications of Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing for Earth, Mars, and the Outer Bodies

Description

Many planetary science missions study thermophysical properties of surfaces using infrared spectrometers and infrared cameras. Thermal inertia is a frequently derived thermophysical property that quantifies the ability for heat to exchange through planetary surfaces.

To conceptualize thermal inertia, the diffusion equation

Many planetary science missions study thermophysical properties of surfaces using infrared spectrometers and infrared cameras. Thermal inertia is a frequently derived thermophysical property that quantifies the ability for heat to exchange through planetary surfaces.

To conceptualize thermal inertia, the diffusion equation analogies are extended using a general effusivity term: the square root of a product of conductivity and capacity terms. A hypothetical thermal inductance was investigated for diurnal planetary heating. The hyperbolic heat diffusion equation was solved to derive an augmented thermal inertia. The hypothetical thermal inductance was modeled with negligible effect on Mars.

Extending spectral performance of infrared cameras was desired for colder bodies in the outer solar system where peak infrared emission is at longer wavelengths. The far-infrared response of an infrared microbolometer array with a retrofitted diamond window was determined using an OSIRIS-REx—OTES interferometer. An instrument response function of the diamond interferometer-microbolometer system shows extended peak performance from 15 µm out to 20 µm and 40% performance to at least 30 µm. The results are folded into E-THEMIS for the NASA flagship mission: Europa Clipper.

Infrared camera systems are desired for the expanding smallsat community that can inherit risk and relax performance requirements. The Thermal-camera for Exploration, Science, and Imaging Spacecraft (THESIS) was developed for the Prox-1 microsat mission. THESIS, incorporating 2001 Mars Odyssey—THEMIS experience, consists of an infrared camera, a visible camera, and an instrument computer. THESIS was planned to provide images for demonstrating autonomous proximity operations between two spacecraft, verifying deployment of the Planetary Society’s LightSail-B, and conducting remote sensing of Earth. Prox-1—THESIS was selected as the finalist for the competed University Nanosatellite Program-7 and was awarded a launch on the maiden commercial SpaceX Falcon Heavy. THESIS captures 8-12 µm IR images with 100 mm optics and RGB color images with 25 mm optics. The instrument computer was capable of instrument commanding, automatic data processing, image storage, and telemetry recording. The completed THESIS has a mass of 2.04 kg, a combined volume of 3U, and uses 7W of power. THESIS was designed, fabricated, integrated, and tested in ASU’s 100K clean lab.

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Date Created
2018