Characterizing the Current Aeolian Transport Environment for Sediment in Greater Meridiani Planum

Grant #: NNX13AK68G
Senior Scientist: Tim Michaels


The overall goals of the proposed Mars research are to identify locations, areas, seasons, and times-of-day within a 10x10 degree study area (greater Meridiani Planum) where/when sand-sized particle transport by the wind (aeolian saltation) has occurred (may have occurred, is probable) within the contemporary era, and to initially characterize the atmospheric and/or geologic forcing mechanism(s) that create such aeolian-effective conditions near the surface. In order to achieve these goals, the proposed work will utilize both the analysis of high-resolution orbital imagery (e.g., HiRISE, CTX, MOC-NA; including any available repeat imaging of relevant locations) and high-resolution atmospheric modeling output (mesoscale and microscale; seasonally- and diurnally-resolved 3-D winds and atmospheric state information). The proposed effort would significantly advance the detailed understanding of the dominant non-catastrophic contemporary surface erosion process on Mars.