A team of researchers led by Nathaniel Putzig of the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) used radar data collected by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to create a new 3D polar map. The image is called a radargram, a graphical representation of a radar reading. It highlights previously unseen features, including an impact crater and a canyon.
MRO is equipped with an instrument named Sharad (Shallow Radar) that bounces radar waves off Mars’ soil, allowing scientists to “see” below the surface. The PSI team processed this data to obtain a 3D view of the subsurface. The part marked ” no data zone was not imaged. The researchers published their work in
The Planetary Science Journal.
The radargram reveals subterranean features of Mars’ North Pole, including a buried canyon. PSI/ASI/JPL/NASA
Better understand the geology of Mars
The Sharad was originally designed to search for liquid or frozen water, but radar waves also reveal rocks and sand. This data helps scientists get an idea of how the geological layers were deposited and eroded at the pole. As a result, a better understanding of polar geology and its link with the climatic history of
This 3D map is just the start. According to Nathaniel Putzig, ”
so far, we’ve only scratched the surface of understanding what this new batch of data tells us about the history of Martian polar processes and climate, and there’s still a lot of detailed mapping work to be done. TO DO.
The researchers plan to identify other buried impact craters and examine the subterranean structures that appear in the image. The same method used to create the polar radargram could be effective for exploring other regions of Mars.
Image: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin; NASA MGS MOLA Science Team