Remote sensing analysis of cratered surfaces: Mars landing hazard assessment, comparison to terrestrial crater analogs, and Mars crater dating models

Yenlai Chee, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Impact cratering is the most ubiquitous geologic process in the solar system, and its geomorphic effects are evident in the topography of most of the terrestrial bodies in the solar system, including Mars. Mars is covered by impact features that range from kilometer sized basins to small, bowl-shaped craters. When planning future planetary exploration missions to the surface of Mars, it will be important to consider the possible risks that these topographic features could pose to robotic landers or rovers. In addition, constraints on the ages of cratered surfaces, and the processes that modify those surfaces over time, will be crucial for the geologic study of Mars. The first two projects of this thesis focus on the study and analysis of the morphology of simple impact craters on Mars as compared to a set of nuclear explosion craters at the Nevada Test Site. I quantitatively determine the similarity of the terrestrial explosion craters to the Martian impact craters and describe two simple analytical tools for defining hazard zonations around the craters. The first of these uses high-resolution topographic data and the second is based on a novel approach to computing thermal inertia maps from thermal infrared imagery. The third project describes a new method for dating simple impact craters on Mars. A database of 1,800 impact craters of constrained age was compiled. Statistical analysis of the database has yielded a description of the variation in crater morphology with age. Craters of unconstrained age can therefore be dated by comparing their morphologies against this model. ^

Subject Area

Geology|Remote Sensing

Recommended Citation

Chee, Yenlai, "Remote sensing analysis of cratered surfaces: Mars landing hazard assessment, comparison to terrestrial crater analogs, and Mars crater dating models" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1445699.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1445699

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