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P.R. Christensen (arizona state university), B.M. Jakosky (University of Colorado), H.H. Kieffer (U.S. Geological Survey), M. Malin (Malin Space Science Systems), H. McSween (University of Tennessee), K. Nealson (University of Southern California), J. Bell (Cornell University), A. Ivanov (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), M. Lane (PSI), J. Moersch (University of Tennessee)
The Thermal Infrared Imaging System (THEMIS) instrument has studied the surface mineralogy, physical properties, and atmosphere of Mars using multi-spectral thermal-infrared and visible images in 14 spectral bands from 0.45 to 15.5 µm during the first five months of the Mars Odyssey mapping mission. The THEMIS objectives are to map mineral units, map the thermophysical properties of the entire planet, search for thermal anomalies associated with active sub-surface hydrothermal systems, investigate the properties of the poles, and study atmospheric temperature, aerosols, and condensates at high (100-m) spatial resolution. The THEMIS multi-spectral images have provided new information on the physical and compositional properties of the martian surface. Initial results include: (1) The individual units within layered deposits, for example the terrains of Meridiani Terra, have significantly different physical properties, indicating either different lithification/cementation processes or different initial depositional conditions or environments. (2) Local exposures of surfaces with thermal inertias approaching bedrock have been observed, indicating that the rock production rate exceeds the rate of burial or erosion and that bedrock is exposed in active environments. (3) Crater ejecta show differing degrees of rock preservation, providing an additional tool for determining surface modification rates and assessing crater ages. (4) Compositional differences are apparent in multi-spectral thermal IR images at spatial scales of 100’s of meters. (5) Regional 100-m mapping has revealed the presence of channel systems in ancient crater terrains not detected by Viking and not mapped by the high-resolution camera on Mars Global Surveyor. (6) IR imagery has provided quantitative physical properties of aeolian surfaces, including dunes, wind streaks, inter-dune surfaces, lags, and mega-ripples, allowing assessment of the processes that form these features.
Funding for this research was provided by NASA through the Mars Odyssey Project.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.