Matching Items (7)

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Analysis of spacecraft data for the study of diverse lunar volcanism and regolith maturation rates

Description

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft missions provide new data for investigating the youngest impact craters on Mercury and the Moon, along

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft missions provide new data for investigating the youngest impact craters on Mercury and the Moon, along with lunar volcanic end-members: ancient silicic and young basaltic volcanism. The LRO Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) in-flight absolute radiometric calibration used ground-based Robotic Lunar Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope data as standards. In-flight radiometric calibration is a small aspect of the entire calibration process but an important improvement upon the pre-flight measurements. Calibrated reflectance data are essential for comparing images from LRO to missions like MESSENGER, thus enabling science through engineering. Relative regolith optical maturation rates on Mercury and the Moon are estimated by comparing young impact crater densities and impact ejecta reflectance, thus empirically testing previous models of faster rates for Mercury relative to the Moon. Regolith maturation due to micrometeorite impacts and solar wind sputtering modies UV-VIS-NIR surface spectra, therefore understanding maturation rates is critical for interpreting remote sensing data from airless bodies. Results determined the regolith optical maturation rate on Mercury is 2 to 4 times faster than on the Moon. The Gruithuisen Domes, three lunar silicic volcanoes, represent relatively rare lunar lithologies possibly similar to rock fragments found in the Apollo sample collection. Lunar nonmare silicic volcanism has implications for lunar magmatic evolution. I estimated a rhyolitic composition using morphologic comparisons of the Gruithuisen Domes, measured from NAC 2-meter-per-pixel digital topographic models (DTMs), with terrestrial silicic dome morphologies and laboratory models of viscoplastic dome growth. Small, morphologically sharp irregular mare patches (IMPs) provide evidence for recent lunar volcanism widely distributed across the nearside lunar maria, which has implications for long-lived nearside magmatism. I identified 75 IMPs (100-5000 meters in dimension) in NAC images and DTMs, and determined stratigraphic relationships between units common to all IMPs. Crater counts give model ages from 18-58 Ma, and morphologic comparisons with young lunar features provided an additional age constraint of <100 Ma. The IMPs formed as low-volume basaltic eruptions significantly later than previous evidence of lunar mare basalt volcanism's end (1-1.2 Ga).

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Agent

Created

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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Dynamics of Ices and Fluids on Mars and Kuiper Belt Objects

Description

The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature

The seasonal deposition of CO2 on the polar caps is one of the most dynamic processes on Mars and is a dominant driver of the global climate. Remote sensing temperature and albedo data were used to estimate the subliming mass of CO2 ice on south polar gullies near Sisyphi Cavi. Results showed that column mass abundances range from 400 - 1000 kg.m2 in an area less than 60 km2 in late winter. Complete sublimation of the seasonal caps may occur later than estimated by large-scale studies and is geographically dependent. Seasonal ice depth estimates suggested variations of up to 1.5 m in depth or 75% in porosity at any one time. Interannual variations in these data appeared to correlate with dust activity in the southern hemisphere. Correlation coefficients were used to investigate the relationship between frost-free surface properties and the evolution of the seasonal ice in this region. Ice on high thermal inertia units was found to disappear before any other ice, likely caused by inhibited deposition during fall. Seasonal ice springtime albedo appeared to be predominantly controlled by orientation, with north-facing slopes undergoing brightening initially in spring, then subliming before south-facing slopes. Overall, the state of seasonal ice is far more complex than globally and regionally averaged studies can identify.

The discovery of cryovolcanic features on Charon and the presence of ammonia hydrates on the surfaces of other medium-sized Kuiper Belt Objects suggests that cryovolcanism may be important to their evolution. A two-dimensional, center-point finite difference, thermal hydraulic model was developed to explore the behavior of cryovolcanic conduits on midsized KBOs. Conduits on a Charon-surrogate were shown to maintain flow through over 200 km of crust and mantle down to radii of R = 0.20 m. Radii higher than this became turbulent due to high viscous dissipation and low thermal conductivity. This model was adapted to explore the emplacement of Kubrik Mons. Steady state flow was achieved with a conduit of radius R = 0.02 m for a source chamber at 2.3 km depth. Effusion rates computed from this estimated a 122 - 163 Myr upper limit formation timescale.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Integrating Analytical and Remote Sensing Techniques to Investigate the Petrology of Planetary Surfaces

Description

Interpreting the petrogenesis of materials exposed on the surface of planets and asteroids is fundamental to understanding the origins and evolution of the inner Solar System. Temperature, pressure, fO2, and

Interpreting the petrogenesis of materials exposed on the surface of planets and asteroids is fundamental to understanding the origins and evolution of the inner Solar System. Temperature, pressure, fO2, and bulk composition directly influence the petrogenetic history of planetary surfaces and constraining these variables with remote sensing techniques is challenging. The integration of remote sensing data with analytical investigations of natural samples, lab-based spectroscopy, and thermodynamic modelling improves our ability to interpret the petrogenesis of planetary materials.

A suite of naturally heated carbonaceous chondrite material was studied with lab-based spectroscopic techniques, including visible near-infrared and Fourier transform infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Distinct mineralogic, and thus spectroscopic, trends are observed with increasing degree of thermal metamorphism. Characterization of these spectral trends yields a set of mappable parameters that will be applied to remotely sensed data from the OSIRIS-REx science payload. Information about the thermal history of the surface of the asteroid Bennu will aid in the selection of a sampling site, ensuring OSIRIS-REx collects a pristine regolith sample that has not experienced devolatilization of primitive organics or dehydration of phyllosilicates.

The evolution of mafic magma results in distinct major element chemical trends. Mineral assemblages present in evolved volcanic rocks are indicators of these processes. Using laboratory spectroscopic analyses of a suite of evolved volcanic rocks from the Snake River Plain, Idaho, I show that these evolutionary trends are reflected in the spectral signatures of ferromagenesian and feldspar minerals.

The Athena science package on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit allows for the in situ investigation of bulk chemistry, texture, and mineralogy on the surface of Mars. Using the bulk composition of the Irvine and Backstay volcanic rocks, thermodynamic modeling was performed to further constrain the formation conditions of Martian volcanics. Irvine and Backstay compositions exhibit dramatic variations in modal mineralogy with changing fO2. Using these results, I show that the observed Mini-TES spectra of Irvine and Backstay can be adequately reproduced, and additional constraints can be placed on their primary fO2.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Machine learning on Mars: a new lens on data from planetary exploration missions

Description

There are more than 20 active missions exploring planets and small bodies beyond Earth in our solar system today. Many more have completed their journeys or will soon begin. Each

There are more than 20 active missions exploring planets and small bodies beyond Earth in our solar system today. Many more have completed their journeys or will soon begin. Each spacecraft has a suite of instruments and sensors that provide a treasure trove of data that scientists use to advance our understanding of the past, present, and future of the solar system and universe. As more missions come online and the volume of data increases, it becomes more difficult for scientists to analyze these complex data at the desired pace. There is a need for systems that can rapidly and intelligently extract information from planetary instrument datasets and prioritize the most promising, novel, or relevant observations for scientific analysis. Machine learning methods can serve this need in a variety of ways: by uncovering patterns or features of interest in large, complex datasets that are difficult for humans to analyze; by inspiring new hypotheses based on structure and patterns revealed in data; or by automating tedious or time-consuming tasks. In this dissertation, I present machine learning solutions to enhance the tactical planning process for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and future tactically-planned missions, as well as the science analysis process for archived and ongoing orbital imaging investigations such as the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at Mars. These include detecting novel geology in multispectral images and active nuclear spectroscopy data, analyzing the intrinsic variability in active nuclear spectroscopy data with respect to elemental geochemistry, automating tedious image review processes, and monitoring changes in surface features such as impact craters in orbital remote sensing images. Collectively, this dissertation shows how machine learning can be a powerful tool for facilitating scientific discovery during active exploration missions and in retrospective analysis of archived data.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Remote sensing of Martian sedimentary deposits and lunar pyroclastic deposits

Description

On Mars, sedimentary deposits reveal a complex history of water- and wind-related geologic processes. Central mounds – kilometer-scale stacks of sediment located within craters – occur across Mars, but the

On Mars, sedimentary deposits reveal a complex history of water- and wind-related geologic processes. Central mounds – kilometer-scale stacks of sediment located within craters – occur across Mars, but the specific processes responsible for mound formation and subsequent modification are still uncertain. A survey of central mounds within large craters was conducted. Mound locations, mound offsets within their host craters, and relative mound heights were used to address various mound formation hypotheses. The results suggest that mound sediments once filled their host craters and were later eroded into the features observed today. Mounds offsets from the center of their host crater imply that wind caused the erosion of central mounds. An in depth study of a single central mound (Mt. Sharp within Gale crater) was also conducted. Thermal Emission Imaging System Visible Imaging Subsystem (THEMIS-VIS) mosaics in grayscale and false color were used to characterize the morphology and color variations in and around Gale crater. One result of this study is that dunes within Gale crater vary in false color composites from blue to purple, and that these color differences may be due to changes in dust cover, grain size, and/or composition. To further investigate dune fields on Mars, albedo variations at eight dune fields were studied based on the hypothesis that a dune’s ripple migration rate is correlated to its albedo. This study concluded that a dune’s minimum albedo does not have a simple correlation with its ripple migration rate. Instead, dust devils remove dust on slow-moving and immobile dunes, whereas saltating sand caused by strong winds removes dust on faster-moving dunes.

On the Moon, explosive volcanic deposits within Oppenheimer crater that were emplaced ballistically were investigated. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner Radiometer mid-infrared data, LRO Camera images, and Chandrayaan-1 orbiter Moon Mineralogy Mapper near-infrared spectra were used to test the hypothesis that the pyroclastic deposits in Oppenheimer crater were emplaced via Vulcanian activity by constraining their composition and mineralogy. The mineralogy and iron-content of the pyroclastic deposits vary significantly (including examples of potentially very high iron compositions), which indicates variability in eruption style. These results suggest that localized lunar pyroclastic deposits may have a more complex origin and mode of emplacement than previously thought.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Investigations of Morphologies and Emplacement Mechanisms of Volcanically-Derived Landforms on the Moon and Mars

Description

Previous workers hypothesized that lunar Localized Pyroclastic Deposits (LPDs) represent products of vulcanian-style eruptions, since some have low proportions of juvenile material. The objective of the first study is to

Previous workers hypothesized that lunar Localized Pyroclastic Deposits (LPDs) represent products of vulcanian-style eruptions, since some have low proportions of juvenile material. The objective of the first study is to determine how juvenile composition, calculated using deposit and vent volumes, varies among LPDs. I used Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) digital terrain models (DTMs) to generate models of pre-eruption surfaces for 23 LPDs and subtracted them from the NAC DTMs to calculate deposit and vent volumes. Results show that LPDs have a wide range of juvenile compositions and thinning profiles, and that there is a positive relationship between juvenile material proportion and deposit size. These findings indicate there is greater diversity among LPDs than previously understood, and that a simple vulcanian eruption model may only apply to the smallest deposits.

There is consensus that martian outflow channels were formed by catastrophic flooding events, yet many of these channels exhibit lava flow features issuing from the same source as the eroded channels, leading some authors to suggest that lava may have served as their sole agent of erosion. This debate is addressed in two studies that use Context Camera images for photogeologic analysis, geomorphic mapping, and cratering statistics: (1) A study of Mangala Valles showing that it underwent at least two episodes of fluvial activity and at least three episodes of volcanic activity during the Late Amazonian, consistent with alternating episodes of flooding and volcanism. (2) A study of Maja Valles finds that it is thinly draped in lava flows sourced from Lunae Planum to the west, rendering it analogous to the lava-coated Elysium outflow systems. However, the source of eroded channels in Maja Valles is not the source of the its lava flows, which instead issue from south Lunae Planum. The failure of these lava flows to generate any major channels along their path suggests that the channels of Maja Valles are not lava-eroded.

Finally, I describe a method of locating sharp edges in out-of-focus images for application to automated trajectory control systems that use images from fixed-focus cameras to determine proximity to a target.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018