New Gravity Map of Mars

mars-gravity-hemispheres
MIT/UMBC-CRESST/GSFC

A new gravity map of Mars, based on data from three orbiting spacecraft, has been released. “Slight differences in Mars’ gravity changed the trajectory of the NASA spacecraft orbiting the planet, which altered the signal being sent from the spacecraft to the Deep Space Network. These small fluctuations in the orbital data were used to build a map of the Martian gravity field.”

Mars Gravity Map
NASA/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio

The data enables the crustal thickness of Mars to be determined to a resolution of approximately 120 kilometres. Here’s a short video explaining the significance:

Author: Jonathan Crowe

I blog about maps at The Map Room, review books for AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and edit a fanzine called Ecdysis.