Interior Structure and Seasonal Mass Redistribution of Mars from Radio Tracking of Mars Pathfinder

Science  05 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5344, pp. 1749-1752
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5344.1749

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Doppler and range measurements to the Mars Pathfinder lander made using its radio communications system have been combined with similar measurements from the Viking landers to estimate improved values of the precession of Mars' pole of rotation and the variation in Mars' rotation rate. The observed precession of –7576 ± 35 milliarc seconds of angle per year implies a dense core and constrains possible models of interior composition. The estimated annual variation in rotation is in good agreement with a model of seasonal mass exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and ice caps.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: william.folkner{at}

View Full Text