Reports

Mars: Change in Axial Tilt Due to Climate?

Science  11 May 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4956, pp. 720-721
DOI: 10.1126/science.248.4956.720

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Abstract

The average tilt of Mars' equator with respect to its orbital plane may have increased significantly over the age of the solar system. Obliquity oscillations might have induced changes in the climate, which altered the mass distribution and hence the solar torque on the planet. Viscous deformation attributable to loading by the large polar caps expected at low obliquity may have induced secular changes in the axial tilt. Earth-like effective viscosities can account for virtually the entire present obliquity of 24.4 degrees. Thus the present average tilt of Mars may not be primordial.

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