Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Space & Planetary Sciences (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Richard K. Ulrich

Committee Member

Mark Arnold

Second Committee Member

Vincent F. Chevrier

Third Committee Member

John Dixon

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Kennefick

Fifth Committee Member

Larry Roe

Abstract

The stability and transport of water on solid planetary surfaces strongly affects both atmospheric and surfaces processes. In this work, two bodies are specifically investigated where transport of water is relevant: Iapetus and Mars. Iapetus, an icy Kronian satellite, has a drastic albedo contrast on its surface and one of the darkest surfaces in the solar system. This extreme brightness contrast is suggested to occur via the transport of water ice from the leading hemisphere to the trailing hemisphere and the poles. Here a global heat and mass transfer model is developed for Iapetus in order to study the current state of H2O transport and to make inferences about the temporal evolution of this process on its surface. On Mars, atmosphere-regolith interactions have been suggested to control the near-surface water vapor cycle. Due to the large amount of experimental values of the absorptivity of soil materials, a model is developed in order to study the effects of an active regolith on the transport of water vapor. Liquid water has been a controversial subject in the martian literature. However, there exists sufficient evidence of past standing bodies of liquid on Mars. If these paleolakes contained dissolved salts, their evolution would be drastically affected. Therefore, a model is developed in order to study the effect of dissolved salts and investigate if there exists the possibility for brine residue formation. Recent observations also strongly suggest that liquid may be possible on present-day Mars. A model is developed in order to investigate the possibility of brine flows as the source for recurring slope lineae.

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