Topographic and atmospheric pressure mapping using near infrared imaging and spectral observations of Mars

Sarah Chamberlain, Jeremy Bailey, Malcolm Walter, Andrew Simpson, David Crisp

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


    Early ground-based observations recorded the visible Martian albedo, displaying variations due to surface composition and texture. However, the topography of Mars, including large-scale features such as Valles Marineris and Olympus Mons remained relatively unknown until the first visiting spacecraft. Concurrently, a technique using groundbased visible observations was being developed to determine the Martian topography by measuring the spatial variation in the strength of the atmospheric CO2 absorption bands. This method was first used by Belton & Hunten (1971), Woszczyk (1971) and Parkinson & Hunten (1973) but resulted in low resolution maps that are inconsistent with current Martian topographic maps. Improved results are possible using the stronger CO2 bands in the near-infrared. Bibring, et al, (1991) used the ISM instrument on board the Russian spacecraft Phobos 2, to obtain high spatially resolved maps for a small number of equatorial regions on Mars. The observations presented here use near-infrared ground-based observations to produce relatively detailed topographic maps of Mars that correlate well with topographic maps produced by the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter(MOLA) on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). Measurements of the Martian atmospheric pressure systems are of great interest for testing and constraining general circulation models of the Martian atmosphere (Forget et al., 1999) and cannot be made with existing spacecraft. Past atmospheric pressure measurements on Mars show diurnal and pressure system variations with amplitudes as high as 50Pa in a total pressure of 800Pa (Barnes 1981, Collins et. al., 1996). Here we detail a method by which the weather on Mars can be monitored on a global scale from Earth with a current sensitivity of 4 to 5Pa.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of Second Workshop on Mars atmosphere modelling and observations
    EditorsF. Forget
    Place of PublicationParis
    PublisherLaboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventWorkshop on Mars Atmosphere Modelling and Observations (2nd : 2006) - Granada, Spain
    Duration: 27 Feb 20063 Mar 2006


    WorkshopWorkshop on Mars Atmosphere Modelling and Observations (2nd : 2006)
    CityGranada, Spain


    • Martian topography
    • Martian atmosphere
    • Mars

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