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Geology of the InSight landing site on Mars

Golombek, M. and Warner, N. H. and Grant, J. A. and Hauber, E. and Ansan, V. and Weitz, C. M. and Williams, N. and Charalambous, C. and Wilson, S. A. and DeMott, A. and Kopp, M. and Lethcoe-Wilson, H. and Berger, L. and Hausmann, R. and Marteau, E. and Vrettos, C. and Trussell, A. and Folkner, W. and Le Maistre, S. and Mueller, N. and Grott, M. and Spohn, T. and Piqueux, S. and Millour, E. and Forget, F. and Daubar, I. and Murdoch, Naomi and Lognonné, Philippe and Perrin, C. and Rodriguez, S. and Pike, W. T. and Parker, T. and Maki, J. and Abarca, H. and Deen, R. and Hall, J. and Andres, P. and Ruoff, N. and Calef, F. and Smrekar, S. and Baker, M. M. and Banks, M. and Spiga, Aymeric and Banfield, D. and Garvin, J. and Newman, C. E. and Banerdt, William Bruce Geology of the InSight landing site on Mars. (2020) Nature Communications, 11 (1). ISSN 2041-1723

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14679-1


The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) spacecraft landed successfully on Mars and imaged the surface to characterize the surficial geology. Here we report on the geology and subsurface structure of the landing site to aid in situ geophysical investigations. InSight landed in a degraded impact crater in Elysium Planitia on a smooth sandy, granule- and pebble-rich surface with few rocks. Superposed impact craters are common and eolian bedforms are sparse. During landing, pulsed retrorockets modified the surface to reveal a near surface stratigraphy of surficial dust, over thin unconsolidated sand, underlain by a variable thickness duricrust, with poorly sorted, unconsolidated sand with rocks beneath. Impact, eolian, and mass wasting processes have dominantly modified the surface. Surface observations are consistent with expectations made from remote sensing data prior to landing indicating a surface composed of an impact-fragmented regolith overlying basaltic lava flows.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:02 Dec 2020 15:08

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