Matching Items (9)

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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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Modeling the interior of Haumea

Description

The Kuiper Belt Object Haumea is one of the most fascinating objects in the solar system. Spectral reflectance observations reveal a surface of almost pure water ice, yet it

The Kuiper Belt Object Haumea is one of the most fascinating objects in the solar system. Spectral reflectance observations reveal a surface of almost pure water ice, yet it has a mass of 4.006 × 1021 kg, measured from orbits of its moons, along with an inferred mean radius of 715 km, and these imply a mean density of around 2600 kg m−3. Thus the surface ice must be a veneer over a rocky core. This model is supported by observations of Haumea's light curve, which shows large photometric variations over an anomalously rapid 3.9154-hour rotational period. Haumea's surface composition is uniform, therefore the light curve must be due to a varying area presented to the observer, implying that Haumea has an oblong, ellipsoidal shape. If Haumea's rotation axis is normal to our line of sight, and Haumea reflects with a lunar-like scattering function, then its axis ratios are p = b/a = 0.80 (in the equatorial cross section) and q = c/a = 0.52 (in the polar cross section). In this work, I assume that Haumea is in hydrostatic equilibrium, and I model it as a two-phase ellipsoid with an ice mantle and a rocky core. I model the core assuming it has a given density in the range between 2700–3300 kg m−3 with axis ratios that are free to vary. The metric which my code uses calculates the angle between the gravity vector and the surface normal, then averages this over both the outer surface and the core-mantle boundary. When this fit angle is minimized, it allows an interpretation of the size and shape of the core, as well as the thickness of the ice mantle. Results of my calculations show that Haumea's most likely core density is 2700–2800 kg m−3, with ice thicknesses anywhere from 12–32 km over the poles and as thin as 4–18 km over the equator.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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International planetary defense, an ethnographic study

Description

Planetary Defense is the scientific field of study dedicated to the detection and mitigation of a potential threat posed to Earth by a Near Earth Object (NEO), whether an asteroid

Planetary Defense is the scientific field of study dedicated to the detection and mitigation of a potential threat posed to Earth by a Near Earth Object (NEO), whether an asteroid or a comet. It is a fairly recent scientific field of study. The first Planetary Defense offices were created in the United States in 2017 and at the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2019. Should an impact occur, the Planetary Defense community, an international network of Planetary scientists, is set to work in coordination with international and national emergency response services to deal with such a natural celestial disaster. This dissertation will revolve around the hypothesis that over the past twenty-five years Planetary Defense has morphed from a scientific field dedicated to asteroid detection to a broad managerial international technocratic infrastructure. Considering that such a disaster could have consequences of potentially globally catastrophic proportions, including possibilities for large-scale tsunamis, firestorms, and stratospheric darkening, it is critical that any NEO disaster management and coordination efforts be informed by proven theoretical principles and best practices. On a theoretical level, however, connections have yet to be made between the literature of the sociology of natural disaster management and this newly organized field of Planetary Defense management. This dissertation aims to address this knowledge gap by extracting lessons learned and guidelines from the Sociology of Disaster Management and link them to the field of Planetary Defense management.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Breaking ground on the Moon and Mars: reconstructing lunar tectonic evolution and Martian central pit crater formation

Description

Understanding the structural evolution of planetary surfaces provides key insights to their physical properties and processes. On the Moon, large-scale tectonism was thought to have ended over a billion years

Understanding the structural evolution of planetary surfaces provides key insights to their physical properties and processes. On the Moon, large-scale tectonism was thought to have ended over a billion years ago. However, new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) high resolution images show the Moon’s surface in unprecedented detail and show many previously unidentified tectonic landforms, forcing a re-assessment of our views of lunar tectonism. I mapped lobate scarps, wrinkle ridges, and graben across Mare Frigoris – selected as a type area due to its excellent imaging conditions, abundance of tectonic landforms, and range of inferred structural controls. The distribution, morphology, and crosscutting relationships of these newly identified populations of tectonic landforms imply a more complex and longer-lasting history of deformation that continues to today. I also performed additional numerical modeling of lobate scarp structures that indicates the upper kilometer of the lunar surface has experienced 3.5-18.6 MPa of differential stress in the recent past, likely due to global compression from radial thermal contraction.

Central pit craters on Mars are another instance of intriguing structures that probe subsurface physical properties. These kilometer-scale pits are nested in the centers of many impact craters on Mars as well as on icy satellites. They are inferred to form in the presence of a water-ice rich substrate; however, the process(es) responsible for their formation is still debated. Previous models invoke origins by either explosive excavation of potentially water-bearing crustal material, or by subsurface drainage of meltwater and/or collapse. I assessed radial trends in grain size around central pits using thermal inertias calculated from Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) thermal infrared images. Average grain size decreases with radial distance from pit rims – consistent with pit-derived ejecta but not expected for collapse models. I present a melt-contact model that might enable a delayed explosion, in which a central uplift brings ice-bearing substrate into contact with impact melt to generate steam explosions and excavate central pits during the impact modification stage.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Ponds, flows, and ejecta of impact cratering and volcanism: a remote sensing perspective of a dynamic Moon

Description

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with

Both volcanism and impact cratering produce ejecta and associated deposits incorporating a molten rock component. While the heat sources are different (exogenous vs. endogenous), the end results are landforms with similar morphologies including ponds and flows of impact melt and lava around the central crater. Ejecta from both impact and volcanic craters can also include a high percentage of melted rock. Using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) images, crucial details of these landforms are finally revealed, suggesting a much more dynamic Moon than is generally appreciated. Impact melt ponds and flows at craters as small as several hundred meters in diameter provide empirical evidence of abundant melting during the impact cratering process (much more than was previously thought), and this melt is mobile on the lunar surface for a significant time before solidifying. Enhanced melt deposit occurrences in the lunar highlands (compared to the mare) suggest that porosity, target composition, and pre-existing topography influence melt production and distribution. Comparatively deep impact craters formed in young melt deposits connote a relatively rapid evolution of materials on the lunar surface. On the other end of the spectrum, volcanic eruptions have produced the vast, plains-style mare basalts. However, little was previously known about the details of small-area eruptions and proximal volcanic deposits due to a lack of resolution. High-resolution images reveal key insights into small volcanic cones (0.5-3 km in diameter) that resemble terrestrial cinder cones. The cones comprise inter-layered materials, spatter deposits, and lava flow breaches. The widespread occurrence of the cones in most nearside mare suggests that basaltic eruptions occur from multiple sources in each basin and/or that rootless eruptions are relatively common. Morphologies of small-area volcanic deposits indicate diversity in eruption behavior of lunar basaltic eruptions driven by magmatic volatiles. Finally, models of polar volatile behavior during impact-heating suggest that chemical alteration of minerals in the presence of liquid water is one possible outcome that was previously not thought possible on the Moon.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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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

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Isotopic investigations of meteoritic materials: from earliest-formed solids to planetary bodies

Description

The beginning of our Solar System, including events such as the formation of the first solids as well as the accretion and differentiation of planetary bodies, is recorded in meteoritic

The beginning of our Solar System, including events such as the formation of the first solids as well as the accretion and differentiation of planetary bodies, is recorded in meteoritic material. This record can be deciphered using petrographic, geochemical and isotopic investigations of different classes of meteorites and their components. In this dissertation, I have investigated a variety of isotope systematics in chondritic and achondritic meteorites to understand processes that have shaped our Solar System. Specifically, the investigations conducted here are in two main areas: 1) Hydrogen isotope systematics in a meteorite representing the freshest known sample of the martian crust, and 2) Isotopic studies (specifically relating to high resolution chronology, nucleosynthetic anomalies and mass-dependent fractionations) in calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions, which are thought to be the earliest-formed solids in the Solar System. Chapter 1 of this dissertation presents a review of the hydrogen isotopic compositions of various planetary bodies and reservoirs in the Solar System, which could serve as tracers for the volatile sources. Chapter 2 focuses on an investigation of the hydrogen isotopic systematics in the freshest martian meteorite fall, Tissint, using the Cameca IMS-6f secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS). These first two chapters comprise the first part of this dissertation. The second part is comprised of chapters 3 through 6 and is focused on isotopic analyses of Calcium-Aluminum-rich Inclusions (CAIs). Chapter 3 is a review of CAIs, which record some of the earliest processes that occurred in the solar nebula. Chapter 4 presents the results of an investigation of the 26Al-26Mg short-lived chronometer (half-life ~0.72 Ma) in two CAIs and their Wark-Lovering (WL) rims from a CV3 carbonaceous chondrite using the Cameca NanoSIMS 50L. Chapter 5 is focused on the results of a study of the Zr isotope compositions of a suite of 15 CAIs from different carbonaceous chondrites using multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS), in order to identify nucleosynthetic anomalies in the CAI-forming region. Chapter 6 focuses on the mass-dependent Mg isotopic compositions measured in 11 CAIs from the Allende CV3 carbonaceous chondrite using MC-ICPMS, to evaluate effects of thermal processing on CAIs.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The Geologic History of the Hypanis Deposit, Mars and Ballistic Modeling of Lunar Impact Ejecta

Description

Water has shaped the surface of Mars, recording previous environments and inspiring the search for extinct life beyond Earth. While conditions on the Martian surface today are not conducive to

Water has shaped the surface of Mars, recording previous environments and inspiring the search for extinct life beyond Earth. While conditions on the Martian surface today are not conducive to the presence of liquid water, ancient erosional and depositional features indicate that this was not always so. Quantifying the regional and global history of water on Mars is crucial to understanding how the planet evolved, where to focus future exploration, and implications for water on Earth.

Many sites on Mars contain layered sedimentary deposits, sinuous valleys with delta shaped deposits, and other indications of large lakes. The Hypanis deposit is a unique endmember in this set of locations as it appears to be the largest ancient river delta identified on the planet, and it appears to have no topographic boundary, implying deposition into a sea. I have used a variety of high-resolution remote sensing techniques and geologic mapping techniques to present a new model of past water activity in the region.

I gathered new orbital observations and computed thermal inertia, albedo, elevation, and spectral properties of the Hypanis deposit. I measured the strike and dip of deposit layers to interpret the sedimentary history. My results indicate that Hypanis was formed in a large calm lacustrine setting. My geomorphic mapping of the deposit and catchment indicates buried volatile-rich sediments erupted through the Chryse basin fill, and may be geological young or ongoing. Collectively, my results complement previous studies that propose a global paleoshoreline, and support interpretations that Mars had an ocean early in its history. Future missions to the Martian surface should consider Hypanis as a high-value sampling opportunity.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Effect of disk structure on the distribution of water in protoplanetary disks and planets

Description

The composition of planets and their volatile contents are intimately connected to the structure and evolution of their parent protoplanetary disks. The transport of momentum and volatiles is often parameterized

The composition of planets and their volatile contents are intimately connected to the structure and evolution of their parent protoplanetary disks. The transport of momentum and volatiles is often parameterized by a turbulent viscosity parameter $\alpha$, which is usually assumed to be spatially and temporally uniform across the disk. I show that variable $\alpha$(r,z) (where $r$ is radius, and $z$ is height from the midplane) attributable to angular momentum transport due to MRI can yield disks with significantly different structure, as mass piles up in the 1-10 AU region resulting in steep slopes of p $>$ 2 here (where p is the power law exponent in $\Sigma \propto r^{-p}$). I also show that the transition radius (where bulk mass flow switches from inward to outward) can move as close in as 3 AU; this effect (especially prominent in externally photoevaporated disks) may significantly influence the radial water content available during planet formation.

I then investigate the transport of water in disks with different variable α profiles. While radial temperature profile sets the location of the water snowline (i.e., inside of which water is present as vapor; outside of which, as ice on solids), it is the rates of diffusion and drift of small icy solids and diffusion of vapor across the snow line that determine the radial water distribution. All of these processes are highly sensitive to local $\alpha$. I calculate the effect of radially varying α on water transport, by tracking the abundance of vapor in the inner disk, and fraction of ice in particles and larger asteroids beyond the snow line. I find one α profile attributable to winds and hydrodynamical instabilities, and motivated by meteoritic constraints, to show considerable agreement with inferred water contents observed in solar system asteroids.

Finally, I calculate the timing of gap formation due to the formation of a planet in disks around different stars. Here, I assume that pebble accretion is the dominant mechanism for planetary growth and that the core of the first protoplanet forms at the water snow line. I discuss the dependence of gap timing to various stellar and disk properties.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018