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Topography of the Northern Hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

Science  13 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5357, pp. 1686-1692
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5357.1686

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Abstract

The first 18 tracks of laser altimeter data across the northern hemisphere of Mars from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that the planet at latitudes north of 50° is exceptionally flat; slopes and surface roughness increase toward the equator. The polar layered terrain appears to be a thick ice-rich formation with a non-equilibrium planform indicative of ablation near the periphery. Slope relations suggest that the northern Tharsis province was uplifted in the past. A profile across Ares Vallis channel suggests that the discharge through the channel was much greater than previously estimated. The martian atmosphere shows significant 1-micrometer atmospheric opacities, particularly in low-lying areas such as Valles Marineris.

  • Also at: Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA.

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