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Rock Size-Frequency Distributions at the Mars Exploration Rover Landing Sites: Impact Hazard and AccessibilityThe Viking and Mars Pathfinder landing sites and a wide variety of rocky locations on the Earth show size-frequency distributions that follow an exponential when expressed in cumulative fractional area covered by rocks of a given diameter or larger versus diameter plots. Mars lander rock distributions have been fit by an equation of the form: Fk(D) = k exp [-q(k) D], where Fk(D) is the cumulative fractional area covered by rocks of diameter D or larger, k is the total area covered by all rocks, and an exponential q(k) = 1.79 + 0.152/k, which governs how abruptly the area covered by rocks decreases with increasing diameter. These distributions form a family of noncrossing curves that flatten out at small rock diameter at a total rock abundance of 5-40%. Model rock size-frequency distributions indicate a low probability of impacting hazardous rocks during MER landing. Rocks large enough to analyze and abrade by the rover should be plentiful within an easy Sol's drive.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Golombek, M. P.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Matijevic, J. R.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
DiMaggio, E. N.
(Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor, MI, United States)
Schroeder, R. D.
(California State Univ. Bakersfield, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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