THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site

Keith A. Milam, Karen R. Stockstill, Jeffrey E. Moersch, Harry Y. McSween, Livio L. Tornabene, Amitabha Ghosh, Michael B. Wyatt, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gusev crater, previously interpreted as the depocenter for the Gusev-Ma'adim Vallis fluvio-lacustrine system, is a proposed landing site for one of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). Here we use new remote-sensing data from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) supplemented by data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) to characterize the geology of Gusev crater. Thermal infrared data from THEMIS and TES were used to map thermophysical units on the basis of relative albedos and diurnal temperature variations. THEMIS and MOC visible images were used to map unit morphologies and to estimate crater density ages. MOLA data were used to identify unit contacts and stratigraphic relationships. Various data were then combined to construct a new surface unit map and stratigraphy for units on the floor of Gusev. Seven surface units were identified in Gusev, mostly Hesperian in age, but with two showing evidence of later modification and redistribution. Five or more surface units and layering are present within the MER-A landing ellipse, attesting to the geologic diversity of this site. Surface units show features that could be consistent with fluvio-lacustrine, aeolian, and/or volcanoclastic deposition, but the spatial resolution of visible/infrared data does not allow for the identification of unambiguous volcanic or fluvio-lacustrine textures. However, a MER landing in Gusev may provide the opportunity to analyze multiple units, distinguish rock types, examine stratigraphic relationships, and shed light on the ancient depositional environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume108
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 25 2003

Fingerprint

Mars exploration
landing sites
thermal emission
Mars Global Surveyor
Landing
craters
Imaging systems
crater
Mars
landing
Aneroid altimeters
Spectrometers
altimeter
spectrometers
sheds
Cameras
spectrometer
stratigraphy
Infrared radiation
laser

Keywords

  • Gusev crater
  • Landing site
  • Mars Exploration Rover
  • MER
  • THEMIS
  • Thermal infrared

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Milam, K. A., Stockstill, K. R., Moersch, J. E., McSween, H. Y., Tornabene, L. L., Ghosh, A., ... Christensen, P. (2003). THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, 108(12).

THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site. / Milam, Keith A.; Stockstill, Karen R.; Moersch, Jeffrey E.; McSween, Harry Y.; Tornabene, Livio L.; Ghosh, Amitabha; Wyatt, Michael B.; Christensen, Philip.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, Vol. 108, No. 12, 25.12.2003.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Milam, KA, Stockstill, KR, Moersch, JE, McSween, HY, Tornabene, LL, Ghosh, A, Wyatt, MB & Christensen, P 2003, 'THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site', Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, vol. 108, no. 12.
Milam KA, Stockstill KR, Moersch JE, McSween HY, Tornabene LL, Ghosh A et al. THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site. Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2003 Dec 25;108(12).
Milam, Keith A. ; Stockstill, Karen R. ; Moersch, Jeffrey E. ; McSween, Harry Y. ; Tornabene, Livio L. ; Ghosh, Amitabha ; Wyatt, Michael B. ; Christensen, Philip. / THEMIS characterization of the MER Gusev crater landing site. In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets. 2003 ; Vol. 108, No. 12.
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