In this dissertation, the most recent remote-sensing data are used to study and interpret the surface layer in select locations on Mars with a focus on thermal-infrared observations. First, data from the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) are used to analyze the structure of the surface layer in crater-related wind streaks to gain insight into processes acting upon the surface in these areas. The wind streaks, identified from Viking images, have been classified into two types. The majority of the analyzed Type I bright and dark streaks appear to consist of thin deposits of bright material. This is consistent with formation theories for the bright, depositional streaks but indicates that the dark, erosional streaks have been subsequently covered. Analyzed Type II streaks consist of thicker deposits comprised of sand-sized particles, thus supporting the deflation/deposition theory for their formation. Second, TES thermal-infrared observations are integrated with six other remote-sensing data sets to provide an in- depth analysis of surficial properties in two scientifically interesting potential landing sites on Mars, Gale Crater and Melas Chasma. Using these data sets, I constrain the properties of and processes acting on the present surface and create self-consistent models for the surface layer. Finally, I investigate contributions of recent mid- resolution visible and high-resolution thermal-infrared observations from the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System to the previous analysis of Gale Crater and Melas Chasma. The data generally support previous conclusions but reveal more detail. Infrared images are innovatively used to create maps of these areas; eight units have been defined in Melas and seven in Gale. Surfaces in Melas indicate that landslides were an important early geologic process, shaping the canyon walls and floor, while aeolian processes have subsequently altered the surface layer in many locations. Aeolian processes have played a role in shaping much of the present surface layer within Gale as well, while the presence and frequency of numerous channels bolster hypotheses involving aqueous episodes in the history of the crater.
- Pub Date:
- December 2003
- Physics: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Remote Sensing