Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences

First Advisor

Brian Hynek

Second Advisor

Nathaniel Putzig

Third Advisor

Shijie Zhong

Fourth Advisor

Mike Mellon


I created a web-based interface to the MARSTHERM one-dimensional numerical thermal model, which calculates surface and atmospheric temperatures of Mars for a set of user-specified conditions. The website also provides access to tools which I adapted to allow users to automatically derive thermal inertia from images taken by the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), and access to existing maps of thermal inertia derived from Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations. To demonstrate the capabilities of the tools provided on the website, I conducted a case study investigating the thermal inertia within Gale Crater, using observations from TES, THEMIS, and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Ground Temperature Sensor (GTS). Seasonal variations in TES-derived thermal inertia in the vicinity of the MSL landing site are consistent with a layer of sand or dust over rock, an interpretation supported by diurnal temperature variations recorded by GTS on MSL sol 30. However, diurnal temperature variations from elsewhere along the MSL traverse route could not be modeled by simple two-component structures. Seasonal variations in TES-derived thermal inertia support the hypothesis that the thickness of a surface layer of dust likely increases with elevation on Mount Sharp.