Matching Items (16)

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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

Mars in the Visible to Near Infrared: Two Views of the Red Planet

Description

Remote sensing in visible to near-infrared wavelengths is an important tool for identifying and understanding compositional differences on planetary surfaces. Electronic transitions produce broad absorption bands that are often due

Remote sensing in visible to near-infrared wavelengths is an important tool for identifying and understanding compositional differences on planetary surfaces. Electronic transitions produce broad absorption bands that are often due to the presence of iron cations in crystalline mineral structures or amorphous phases. Mars’ iron-rich and variably oxidized surface provides an ideal environment for detecting spectral variations that can be related to differences in surface dust cover or the composition of the underlying bedrock. Several imaging cameras sent to Mars include the capability to selectively filter incoming light to discriminate between surface materials.

At the coarse spatial resolution provided by the wide-angle Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), regional scale differences in reflectance at all wavelengths are dominated by the presence or absence of Fe3+-rich dust. The dust cover in many regions is highly variable, often with strong seasonal dependence although major storm events can redistribute dust in ways that significantly alter the albedo of large-scale regions outside of the normal annual cycle. Surface dust reservoirs represent an important part of the martian climate system and may play a critical role in the growth of regional dust storms to planet-wide scales. Detailed investigation of seasonal and secular changes permitted by repeated MARCI imaging coverage have allowed the surface dust coverage of the planet at large to be described and have revealed multiannual replenishing of regions historically associated with the growth of storms.

From the ground, rover-based multispectral imaging acquired by the Mastcam cameras allows compositional discrimination between bedrock units and float material encountered along the Curiosity rover’s traverse across crater floor and lower Mt. Sharp units. Mastcam spectra indicate differences in primary mineralogy, the presence of iron-bearing alteration phases, and variations in iron oxidation state, which occur at specific locations along the rover’s traverse. These changes represent differences in the primary depositional environment and the action of later alteration by fluids circulating through fractures in the bedrock. Loose float rocks sample materials brought into the crater by fluvial or other processes. Mastcam observations provide important constraints on the geologic history of the Gale Crater site.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Meteorites on Mars as planetary research tools with special considerations for Martian weathering processes

Description

The occurrence of exogenic, meteoritic materials on the surface of any world presents opportunities to explore a variety of significant problems in the planetary sciences. In the case of Mars,

The occurrence of exogenic, meteoritic materials on the surface of any world presents opportunities to explore a variety of significant problems in the planetary sciences. In the case of Mars, meteorites found on its surface may help to 1) constrain atmospheric conditions during their time of arrival; 2) provide insights into possible variabilities in meteoroid type sampling between Mars and Earth space environments; 3) aid in our understanding of soil, dust, and sedimentary rock chemistry; 4) assist with the calibration of crater-age dating techniques; and 5) provide witness samples for chemical and mechanical weathering processes. The presence of reduced metallic iron in approximately 88 percent of meteorite falls renders the majority of meteorites particularly sensitive to oxidation by H2O interaction. This makes them excellent markers for H2O occurrence. Several large meteorites have been discovered at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs). Significant morphologic characteristics interpretable as weathering features in the Meridiani suite of iron meteorites include a 1) large pit lined with delicate iron protrusions suggestive of inclusion removal by corrosive interaction; 2) differentially eroded kamacite and taenite lamellae on three of the meteorites, providing relative timing through cross-cutting relationships with deposition of 3) an iron oxide-rich dark coating; and 4) regmaglypted surfaces testifying to regions of minimal surface modification; with other regions in the same meteorites exhibiting 5) large-scale, cavernous weathering. Iron meteorites found by Mini-TES at both Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater have prompted laboratory experiments designed to explore elements of reflectivity, dust cover, and potential oxide coatings on their surfaces in the thermal infrared using analog samples. Results show that dust thickness on an iron substrate need be only one tenth as great as that on a silicate rock to obscure its infrared signal. In addition, a database of thermal emission spectra for 46 meteorites was prepared to aid in the on-going detection and interpretation of these valuable rocks on Mars using Mini-TES instruments on both MER spacecraft. Applications to the asteroidal sciences are also relevant and intended for this database.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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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.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

Investigating Lava Flow Emplacement: Implications for Volcanic Hazards and Planetary Evolution

Description

Lava flow emplacement in the laboratory and on the surface of Mars was investigated. In the laboratory, the effects of unsteady effusion rates at the vent on four modes

Lava flow emplacement in the laboratory and on the surface of Mars was investigated. In the laboratory, the effects of unsteady effusion rates at the vent on four modes of emplacement common to lava flow propagation: resurfacing, marginal breakouts, inflation, and lava tubes was addressed. A total of 222 experiments were conducted using a programmable pump to inject dyed PEG wax into a chilled bath (~ 0° C) in tanks with a roughened base at slopes of 0, 7, 16, and 29°. The experiments were divided into four conditions, which featured increasing or decreasing eruption rates for either 10 or 50 s. The primary controls on modes of emplacement were crust formation, variability in the eruption rate, and duration of the pulsatory flow rate. Resurfacing – although a relatively minor process – is inhibited by an extensive, coherent crust. Inflation requires a competent, flexible crust. Tube formation requires a crust and intermediate to low effusion rates. On Mars, laboratory analogue experiments combined with models that use flow dimensions to estimate emplacement conditions and using high resolution image data and digital terrain models (e.g. THEMIS IR, CTX, HRSC), the eruption rates, viscosities, and yield strengths of 40 lava flows in the Tharsis Volcanic Province have been quantified. These lava flows have lengths, mean widths, and mean thicknesses of 15 – 314 km, 0.5 – 29 km, and 11 – 91 m, respectively. Flow volumes range from ~1 – 430 km3. Based on laboratory experiments, the 40 observed lava flows were erupted at 0.2 – 6.5x103 m3/s, while the Graetz number and Jeffrey’s equation when applied to 34 of 40 lava flows indicates eruption rates and viscosities of 300 – ~3.5 x 104 m3/s and ~105 – 108 Pa s, respectively. Another model which accounts for mass loss to levee formation was applied to a subset of flows, n = 13, and suggests eruption rates and viscosities of ~30 – ~1.2 x 103 m3/s and 4.5 x 106 – ~3 x 107 Pa s, respectively. Emplacement times range from days to centuries indicating the necessity for long-term subsurface conduits capable of delivering enormous volumes of lava to the surface.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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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.

Contributors

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Investigations of water-bearing environments on the Moon and Mars

Description

Water is a critical resource for future human missions, and is necessary for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. The Moon and Mars have water in various forms

Water is a critical resource for future human missions, and is necessary for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. The Moon and Mars have water in various forms and are therefore high-priority targets in the search for accessible extraterrestrial water. Complementary remote sensing analyses coupled with laboratory and field studies are necessary to provide a scientific context for future lunar and Mars exploration. In this thesis, I use multiple techniques to investigate the presence of water-ice at the lunar poles and the properties of martian chloride minerals, whose evolution is intricately linked with liquid water.

Permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) at the lunar poles may contain substantial water ice, but radar signatures at PSRs could indicate water ice or large block populations. Mini-RF radar and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) products were used to assess block abundances where radar signatures indicated potential ice deposits. While the majority of PSRs in this study indicated large block populations and a low likelihood of water ice, one crater – Rozhdestvenskiy N – showed indirect indications of water ice in its interior.

Chloride deposits indicate regions where the last substantial liquid water existed on Mars. Major ion abundances and expected precipitation sequences of terrestrial chloride brines could provide context for assessing the provenance of martian chloride deposits. Chloride minerals are most readily distinguished in the far-infrared (45+ μm), where their fundamental absorption features are strongest. Multiple chloride compositions and textures were characterized in far-infrared emission for the first time. Systematic variations in the spectra were observed; these variations will allow chloride mineralogy to be determined and large variations in texture to be constrained.

In the present day, recurring slope lineae (RSL) may indicate water flow, but fresh water is not stable on Mars. However, dissolved chloride could allow liquid water to flow transiently. Using Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) data, I determined that RSL are most likely not fed by chloride-rich brines on Mars. Substantial amounts of salt would be consumed to produce a surface water flow; therefore, these features are therefore thought to instead be surface darkening due to capillary wicking.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Structural and Geomorphic Mapping of Northern Claritas Fossae and the Thaumasia Graben, Mars: Implications for Formation

Description

In this thesis, I investigate possible formation processes in the northern Claritas Fossae and the large Thaumasia graben on Mars. In particular, I assess three proposed formation hypotheses for the

In this thesis, I investigate possible formation processes in the northern Claritas Fossae and the large Thaumasia graben on Mars. In particular, I assess three proposed formation hypotheses for the region: a mega-landslide across the Thaumasia plateau, originating in Tharsis and moving to the south-west; a rift system pulling apart Claritas Fossae and opening the large Thaumasia graben generally propagating in a north-south direction: and extension caused by uplifting from underlying dike swarms. Using digital terrain models (DTMs) from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard Mars Express and visual images from the Context Camera (CTX) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), I analyzed the geomorphic and structural context of the region. Specifically, I produced geomorphologic and structural feature maps, conducted sector diagram analyses of fault propagation direction, calculated and compared extension and strain in local and regional samples, analyzed along strike throw-profiles of faults, and conducted surface age estimates through crater counting. I found that no single formation mechanism fully explains the surface features seen in Northern Claritas Fossae today. Instead I, propose the following sequence of events led to the surface characteristics we now observe. The region most likely underwent two episodes of uplift and extension due to sub-surface magmatic intrusions, then experienced an extensional event which produced the large Thaumasia graben. This was followed by the emplacement of a layer of lava burying the bottom of the Thaumasia graben and the eastern edge of the region. Additional extension followed across the eastern portion of the study area, and finally of a young lava flow was emplaced abutting and overprinting the southwestern edge.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019