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Martian Terrain AgesThe cratering record in the inner Solar System shows two crater populations based on their size/frequency distributions. The heavily cratered surfaces of the Moon, Mercury and Mars all show a similar multisloped crater size distribution which represents the period of heavy bombardment. On the younger plains units of the Moon and Mars the crater size/frequency distribution has about a -3 slope over the same diameter range. The different crater population represents the accumulation of craters since the end of heavy bombardment. The high flux of the early impacting objects dominated the cratering record prior to 3.8 BY. If heavy bombardment was primarily the result of comets (1) or a disrupted planetesimal (2), then heavy bombardment ended simultaneously on all of the inner planets. If, on the other, heavy bombardment was caused by accretional remnants, then it may have extended as much as 1 BY later on Mars than on the Moon and other terrestrial planets (3). Martian surfaces can be dated relative to the end of heavy bombardment by the type of crater population superposed on them. The relative ages of surfaces within these two time divisions can be determined by crater densities.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Strom, R. G.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Barlow, N. G.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Washington Repts. of Planetary Geol. and Geophys. Program, 1984
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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