An Analysis of MARSIS Radar Flash Memory Data from Lunae Planum, Mars: Searching for Subsurface Structures.
Lunae Planum is a Martian plain measuring approximately 1000 km in width and 2000 km in length, centered at coordinates 294°E-11°N. MOLA elevations range from +2500 m to +500 m in the south, gently sloping northward to -500 m. The plain is part of a belt of terrains located between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands, that are transitional in character (e.g., by elevation, age and morphology). These transitional terrains are poorly understood, in part because of their relative lack of major geomorphological features. They record however a very significant part of Mars's geologic history. The most evident features on Lunae Planum's Hesperian surface are regularly spaced, longitudinally striking, wrinkle ridges. These indicate the presence of blind thrust faults cutting through thick stacks of layers of volcanic or sedimentary rocks. The presence of fluidized ejecta craters scattered all over the region suggests also the presence of ice or volatiles in the subsurface. In a preliminary study of Lunae Planum's subsurface we used the Mars Express ground penetrating radar MARSIS dataset , in order to detect reflectors that could indicate the presence of fault planes or layering. Standard radargrams however, provided no evidence of changes in value of dielectric constant that could indicate possible geologic discontinuities or stratification of physically diverse materials. We thus started a new investigation based on processing of raw MARSIS data. Here we report on the preliminary results of this study. We searched the MARSIS archive for raw data stored in flash memory. When operating with flash storage, the radar collects 2 frequency bands along-track covering a distance = 100-250 km, depending on the orbiter altitude . We found flash memory data from 24 orbits over the area. We processed the data focusing radar returns in off-nadir directions, to maximize the likelihood of detecting sloping subsurface structures, including those striking parallel to the Mars Express sub-polar orbits. We plan to follow this study by applying a new processor aimed at improving the resolution and signal to noise ratio of the data.  Caprarelli et al. (2017), LPSC 48, 1720.  Watters et al. (2017), LPSC 48, 1693.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2017
- 0794 Instruments and techniques;
- 6218 Jovian satellites;
- PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLAR SYSTEM OBJECTS;
- 6949 Radar astronomy;
- RADIO SCIENCE;
- 6969 Remote sensing;
- RADIO SCIENCE