AffiliationUniv Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Lab
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
CitationShoemaker, E. S., Baker, D. M. H., & Carter, L. M. (2018). Radar sounding of open basin lakes on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 1395–1406. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005591
Rights©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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AbstractOrbital observations of the surface of Mars indicate that ancient basins were once host to lakes that may have been depocenters of sedimentary materials, including hydrated minerals like phyllosilicates. Later volcanic and sedimentary resurfacing may have developed a stratigraphy within the basins detectable through radar sounding data from the Shallow Radar instrument. Our radar survey of 61 open basin lakes (OBLs) revealed only one plausible reflector in a single basin east of Hellas Planitia. We investigated possible factors contributing to lack of radar detections in the other basins through detailed analysis of radargrams and subsurface characteristics of OBLs. As possible hosts to previous habitable environments, OBLs on Mars are important sites for future robotic and human missions. A full understanding of the factors influencing the radar signal, as addressed here, is important for more fully characterizing the subsurface structure and geology at these locations. Plain Language Summary Mars was once host to ancient lakes that can currently be observed as a topographic depression in the surface with channels where water is thought to have once flowed called an open basin lake. This flowing water transported sediments into the lake which was later covered by further sedimentary or volcanic deposits. The interface between layers of material in the subsurface can be detected from orbit using the Shallow Radar instrument. Our survey of 61 open basin lakes revealed only one detectable interface in a single basin lake. We investigate possible factors that could contribute to the lack of identified interfaces through detailed analyses of available radar images and surface characteristics of the open basin lakes. We develop a method to characterize the degree of noise (clutter) in the radar images created by large surface features (>100m) up to 25km away from the position of the ground track of the spacecraft. However, this alone cannot explain the lack of detected interfaces. A rough subsurface or interface may be more likely. Further modeling will be necessary to characterize the radar characteristics of these basins as many are landing site candidates for future missions searching for formerly habitable environments.
Note6 month embargo; published online: 17 May 2018
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsMaryland Space Grant Consortium [NNX15AJ21H]; NASA Postdoctoral Program