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The global distribution of Martian permafrostAccurately determining the present global distribution of Martian ground ice will be an important step towards understanding the evolution of the Martian surface and atmosphere, and could greatly facilitate human and robotic exploration of the planet. The quantitative Mars permafrost studies demonstrated the potential importance of a number of factors determining the past and present distribution of subsurface ice on Mars, but have not considered the issue of regional variability. To consider the distribution of Mars permafrost in greater detail a new thermal model was developed that can calculate Martian surface and subsurface temperatures as a function of time-of-day and season. The results indicate that the distribution of Martian permafrost is highly sensitive to the bulk thermal properties of the overlying soil. Viking IRTM observations of diurnal surface temperature variations show that the bulk thermal properties of midlatitude surface materials exhibit a high degree of regional inhomogeneity. In general, the results show that the global distribution of permafrost is at least as sensitive to the thermal properties of the overlying surface material as it is to variations in surface isolation due to large scale variations in Mars' orbital and axial elements. In particular, they imply that subsurface ice may exist just a few centimeters below the surface in regions of low thermal inertia and high albedo, which are widespread at latitudes ranging from the equator to +60 degrees latitude.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Paige, David A.
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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