An improved solution of the gravity field of Mars (GMM-2B) from Mars Global Surveyor


  • F. G. Lemoine,

  • D. E. Smith,

  • D. D. Rowlands,

  • M. T. Zuber,

  • G. A. Neumann,

  • D. S. Chinn,

  • D. E. Pavlis


A spherical harmonic solution of the Mars gravity field to degree and order 80, Goddard Mars Model 2B (GMM-2B), has been developed using X band tracking data of Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) from October 1997 to February 2000 and altimeter crossovers formed from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data between March and December 1999. During the mapping mission, MGS was located in a near-polar (92.9° inclination) and near-circular orbit at a mean altitude of 400 km. The tracking data from this orbit provide a detailed, global, and high resolution view of the gravity field of Mars. Mars gravity solutions are stable to 60×60 even without application of a Kaula power law constraint. The Valles Marineris is resolved distinctly with lows reaching −450 mGals. Olympus Mons and its aureole are both separately resolved, and the volcano has a peak anomaly of 2950 mGals. The global correlation of the GMM-2B gravity coefficients with MOLA-derived topography is 0.78 through degree 60, and the correlation remains above 0.6 through degree 62. The global gravity anomaly error predicted from the GMM-2B error covariance through 60×60 is 11 mGal. The global geoid error from GMM-2B through 60×60 is 1.8 m. MGS orbit quality using GMM-2B, as measured by overlapping orbital arcs, is 1 m in the radial direction and 10 m in total position.