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The Subsurface Ice Probe (SIPR): A Low-Power Thermal Probe for the Martian Polar Layered DepositsThe distinctive layering visible in images from Mars Global Surveyor of the Martian polar caps, and particularly in the north polar cap, indicates that the stratigraphy of these polar layered deposits may hold a record of Martian climate history covering millions of years. On Earth, ice sheets are cored to retrieve a pristine record of the physical and chemical properties of the ice at depth, and then studied in exacting detail in the laboratory. On the Martian north polar cap, coring is probably not a practical method for implementation in an autonomous lander. As an alternative, thermal probes that drill by melting into the ice are feasible for autonomous operation, and are capable of reasonable approximations to the scientific investigations performed on terrestrial cores, while removing meltwater to the surface for analysis. The Subsurface Ice Probe (SIPR) is such a probe under development at JPL. To explore the dominant climate cycles, it is postulated that tens of meters of depth should be profiled, as this corresponds to the vertical separation of the major layers visible in the MOC images [1]. Optical and spectroscopic analysis of the layers, presumably demarcated by embedded dust and possibly by changes in the ice properties, would contribute to the construction of a chronology. Meltwater analysis may be used to determine the soluble chemistry of the embedded dust, and to monitor gradients of atmospheric gases, particularly hydrogen and oxygen, and isotopic variations that reflect atmospheric conditions at the time the layer was deposited. Thermal measurements can be used to determine the geothermal gradient and the bulk mechanical properties of the ice.
Document ID
20040062528
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Cardell, G. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Hecht, M. H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Carsey, F. D. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Engelhardt, H. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Fisher, D. (Geological Survey of Canada Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Terrell, C. (Drake Univ. Des Moines, IA, United States)
Thompson, J. (Los Alamos National Lab. NM, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Missions and Instruments: Hopes and Hope Fulfilled
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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