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New gravity field for Mars fuels research



An new gravitational field model for Mars sheds new light on the structure and composition of many short-wavelength features on the planet's surface. The model, Goddard Mars Model-1 (GMM-1) (Figure 1), holds great promise for future Mars research.

Besides resolving more short-wavelength features than previous Mars gravity models, most major features have higher magnitude anomalies. For example, GMM-1 details the Valles Marineris canyon near the center of the map and reveals structures of several major impact basins and shield volcanos never before observed. Interestingly, several prominent anomalies in GMM-1 fail to correlate with surface features. Two prominent anomalies of this type in the northern hemisphere (Ion=−160°, lat=+30° and Ion=105°, lat=+50°) may indicate features covered by volcanic flooding.

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