Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites
Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012)
Volume 105, Issue E3, pages 6961–6969, 25 March 2000
How to Cite
2000), Surface properties of Mars' polar layered deposits and polar landing sites, J. Geophys. Res., 105(E3), 6961–6969, doi:10.1029/1999JE001108., , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 OCT 1999
- Manuscript Received: 8 JUN 1999
On December 3, 1999, the Mars Polar Lander and Mars Microprobes will land on the planet's south polar layered deposits near (76°S, 195°W) and conduct the first in situ studies of the planet's polar regions. The scientific goals of these missions address several poorly understood and globally significant issues, such as polar meteorology, the composition and volatile content of the layered deposits, the erosional state and mass balance of their surface, their possible relationship to climate cycles, and the nature of bright and dark aeolian material. Derived thermal inertias of the southern layered deposits are very low (50–100 J m−2 s−1/2 K−1), suggesting that the surface down to a depth of a few centimeters is generally fine grained or porous and free of an appreciable amount of rock or ice. The landing site region is smoother than typical cratered terrain on ∼1 km pixel−1 Viking Orbiter images but contains low-relief texture on ∼5 to 100 m pixel−1 Mariner 9 and Mars Global Surveyor images. The surface of the southern deposits is older than that of the northern deposits and appears to be modified by aeolian erosion or ablation of ground ice.