A surface gravity traverse on Mars indicates low bedrock density at Gale crater

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 535-537
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0738

Teaching Curiosity to do gravimetry

Gravimetry—the measurement of tiny changes in gravitational fields—can be used to weigh mountains. Large-scale gravimetric mapping can be done from orbit, but examining small details requires a vehicle on the ground. The Curiosity rover on Mars carries several accelerometers used for routine navigation. Lewis et al. recalibrated these accelerometers to allow them to be used for gravimetry. They measured how the local gravitational field changed as the rover moved through Gale crater and began to climb Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). The resulting density of material under Gale crater shows that it is relativity porous, disproving a theory that the crater floor was once buried under several kilometers of rock.

Science, this issue p. 535

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science