31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 47. Mars Surface: Spectra Posters
Poster Group II, Thursday-Friday, October 14, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[47.09] Objectives and Capabilities of the Deep Space 2 (DS2) Evolved Water Experiment

A. S. Yen (JPL), B. Murray (Caltech), A. P. Zent (NASA Ames)

The New Millennium Deep Space 2 (DS2) Mars Microprobes will impact the surface of Mars at a latitude of approximately 75 degrees South on December 3, 1999. The primary objective of this mission is to demonstrate penetrator technologies for future scientific applications. Nonetheless, measurements will be obtained with the goal of characterizing the atmospheric structure during entry as well as the penetrability, thermal conductivity, and water ice content of the polar layered terrains.

In addition to demonstrating the ability to collect a subsurface sample, the evolved water experiment will test models of the south polar regions which indicate that water ice is stable at depths of 4 to 20 cm and greater [Paige and Keegan, 1994]. This prediction for the presence of ice is in contrast to atmospheric circulation models which suggest that water is irreversibly lost from southern latitudes and that the only extensive, permanent ice deposits are located in the northern hemisphere [Houben et al., 1997]. Furthermore, MOC images from the 1998 aerobraking phase suggest a rougher and perhaps more devolatilized surface than inferred from Viking and Mariner 9 data. Thus, the direct determination of the presence or absence of near-surface ice by the DS2 probes is important in the resolution of the fundamental questions about Mars regarding the global inventory of water and the climate history.

In pursuit of these objectives, a ~160 milliliter soil sample will be actively collected by a miniature drill and analyzed for water ice both thermally and spectroscopically. Specific capabilities and detection limits for the abundance of water ice will be presented at the meeting.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: albert.yen@jpl.nasa.gov

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