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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: With a dynamic atmosphere and a large supply of particulate material, the surface of Mars is heavily influenced by wind-driven, or aeolian, processes. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provides a new view of Martian geology, with the ability to see decimeter-size features. Current sand movement, and evidence for recent bedform development, is observed. Dunes and ripples generally exhibit complex surfaces down to the limits of resolution. Yardangs have diverse textures, with some being massive at HiRISE scale, others having horizontal and cross-cutting layers of variable character, and some exhibiting blocky and polygonal morphologies. 'Reticulate' (fine polygonal texture) bedforms are ubiquitous in the thick mantle at the highest elevations.
    Keywords: Instrumentation and Photography
    Type: Geophysical Research Letters; Volume 34
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The recent discovery of small Martian gullies has stimulated debate about the role that water plays on the Martian surface under current or recent conditions. Of critical importance in evaluating various gully hypotheses is reliable morphometric and orientation data. The former centers on such questions as whether the water (or another fluid) emanated from a surface or sub-surface source and the duration of flow. The latter ties into whether solar insolation has an important effect on formation of the initial water source and subsequent mobilization. Initial studies of gullies indicated a poleward orientation dependence, an observation which has recently been challenged. Herein we investigate the orientation of Martian gullies and the dependence of various parameters on the orientation. Whereas previous studies have been global or through most of the southern hemisphere, we focus on several specific regions. This approach offers some advantages in that regional variations are factored out, such that of lithology, ground water table depth (if any), surface thermal properties, and other parameters are more or less the same in a given region. Differences in gully attributes as a function of orientation within a region can more easily be attributable to solar insolation effects than is the case for global statistics. We use the orientation to constrain several classes of gully formation hypotheses. 1) A favored orientation toward the pole across all regions could indicate a process dominated by melting of cold trapped ice, snow, or condensed volatiles from incident sunlight during summer under current conditions. 2) Variations among all regions would be more consistent with mechanisms less strongly tied to current solar insolation, such as geothermal heating of ice. 3) Favored orientations within specific regions, but differing among regions, could indicate a preference for poleward ices and melting, with orientation being a function of age and dependent on variations in obliquity and precision. We find that the gullies fall into either categories 2 or 3, but not 1, indicating the recent melting of cold trapped condensates is unlikely the sole formation mechanism.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Hydrology, Drainage, and Valley Systems; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: Aeolian abrasion is operative in many arid locations on Earth and is probably the dominant rock erosion process in the current Martian environment. Therefore, understanding the controlling parameters and rates of aeolian abrasion provides 1) insight into the stability of rocks on planetary surfaces and the environments under which the rocks abrade, and 2) a link between ventifact (a rock abraded by windblown particles) morphology and: a) abrasion conditions, b) possible ancient environments under which the rocks were abraded, and c) rock properties. promising and we plan further investigations in the wind tunnel and field. Our intent here is to discuss the basic technique, initial results, and upcoming plans.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: The Future of Mars Surface Exploration; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-06-08
    Description: Minimum nighttime temperature at the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landing sites may limit power available for science activities and thus mission lifetime. Here, 1 m air temperature at the end of the nominal 90 sol primary mission are derived for the four primary and three previously considered MER landing sites based on Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emmision Spectrometer thermal inertia and albedo, estimated opacity, and predictions of air temperature from a one-dimensional atmospheric model.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Journal of Geophysical Research; Volume 108; no. E12
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-06-08
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: We have developed a process for deriving near-surface (approx. 1m) temperatures for potential landing sites, based on observational parameters from MGS TES, Odyssey THEMIS, and a boundary layer model developed by Murphy for fitting Pathfinder meteorological measurements. Minimum nighttime temperatures at the MER landing sites can limit power available, and thus mission lifetime. Temperatures are derived based on thermal inertia, albedo, and opacity estimated for the Hematite site in Sinus Meridiani, using predictions of 1-m air temperatures from a one-dimensional atmospheric model. The Hematite site shows 9 % probability of landing at a location with nighttime temperatures below the 97 C value considered to be a practical limit for operations.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: Sixth International Conference on Mars; LPI-Contrib-1164
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Knowledge of the rates at which rocks abrade from the impact of saltating sand provides important input into estimating the age and degree of modification of arid surfaces on Earth and Mars. Previous work has relied on measuring mass loss rates in the field and the laboratory. The susceptibility of rocks and other natural materials has been quantified on a relative scale from laboratory studies.
    Keywords: Nonmetallic Materials
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 2; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-2
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Though Mars is a cold, dry planet, with respect to the thermal stability of liquid water at low altitudes it is not terribly different from comparably cold places on Earth. In dry air such water would evaporate faster on Mars, at a rate comparable to a 60 C hot spring on Earth, but the heat loss associated with that evaporation would be mitigated by the poor thermal convection in the thin Martian air. Even at higher altitudes where the atmospheric pressure does not reach the triple point of water, liquid water might theoretically exist in a low-vapor pressure form such as wet soil, in a briny solution, or simply under a layer of dust or snow. The theoretical stability of liquid water does not suggest its occurrence, either on Mars or in Antarctica. In fact, global models have suggested that locations capable of providing sufficient heat for melting are, precisely for that reason, too dry for water to be present. However, the temperature of irregular local structures such as trenches or craters can be markedly warmer than those of the uniform surfaces of global models. The work described here suggests a plausible scenario in which seasonal liquid water might be produced locally, in sheltered locations, through a process of condensation, cold-trapping, buffering, and melting. While the amounts produced in the present climate would be small, copious amounts of meltwater may have been produced at other phases of the orbital cycle, as recently as 20,000 years ago.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV; LPI-Contrib-1156
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Aeolian-produced rock textures found in the Mojave are compared to analogous features at the Pathfinder landing site.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXI; LPI-Contrib-1000
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Preliminary results using the latest calibrated IMP images and detailed studies of the photometric geometry, location, and characteristics of each APXS spot are reported.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXI; LPI-Contrib-1000
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