Mars geodesy, rotation and gravity

Pascal Rosenblatt, Veronique Dehant


This review provides explanations of how geodesy, rotation and gravity can be addressed using radioscience data of an orbiter around a planet or of the lander on its surface. The planet Mars is the center of the discussion. The information one can get from orbitography and radioscience in general concerns the global static gravitational field, the time variation of the gravitational field induced by mass exchange between the atmosphere and the ice caps, the time variation of the gravitational field induced by the tides, the secular changes in the spacecraft's orbit induced by the little moons of Mars named Phobos and Deimos, the gravity induced by particular targets, the Martian ephemerides, and Mars' rotation and orientation. The paper addresses as well the determination of the geophysical parameters of Mars and, in particular, the state of Mars' core and its size, which is important for understanding the planet's evolution. Indeed, the state and dimension of the core determined from the moment of inertia and nutation depend in turn on the percentage of light elements in the core as well as on the core temperature, which is related to heat transport in the mantle. For example, the radius of the core has implications for possible mantle convection scenarios and, in particular, for the presence of a perovskite phase transition at the bottom of the mantle. This is also important for our understanding of the large volcanic province Tharsis on the surface of Mars.


planets and satellites: Mars — variables: rotation, gravity, and interior of Mars

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