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    The Aeolian environment of the landing site for the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover in Oxia Planum, Mars

    Favaro, E.A. and Balme, M.R. and Davis, Joel and Grindrod, Peter and Fawdon, P. and Barrett, A.M. and Lewis, S.R. (2021) The Aeolian environment of the landing site for the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover in Oxia Planum, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 126 (4), ISSN 2169-9097.

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    Aeolian features at Oxia Planum—the 2023 landing site for the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover (ERFR)—are important for Mars exploration because they record information about past and current wind regimes, sand transport vectors, and lend insight to the abrasion, deposition, and transport of granular material. To characterize the wind regime and erosional history of Oxia Planum we used a combination of manual observational and machine-learning techniques to analyze the morphometrics, distribution, and orientation of 10,753 aeolian bedforms (Transverse Aeolian Ridges[TARs]) and landforms (Periodic Bedrock Ridges [PBRs]) around the ERFR landing ellipses. We found that, irrespective of the scale of the TARs, crestline azimuths are consistent across the study area and we infer that the bedform forming winds blew from NW-NNW toward SE-SSE. PBR azimuths show a substantively different orientation to the aeolian bedforms, and we infer that the winds necessary to abrade PBRs had a N-NNE or S-SSE orientation (180° ambiguity). From observations of active dust devils and windstreaks from repeat imagery, we infer a W-WNW or E-ESE (180° ambiguity) wind dominates today. Finally, we compare the inferred wind direction results from the aeolian landscape to modeled wind data from Mars Global Circulation Models. We note that, despite landscape evidence to the contrary, modeled contemporary wind direction lacks the consistent directionality to be responsible for the orientation of aeolian features in Oxia Planum. These results characterize aeolian features ERFR will encounter and suggests multiple wind regimes have influenced the surficial expression of the landing site.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Joel Davis
    Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2022 11:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:19


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