A grant under the Mars Global Surveyor Guest Observer Program (MGSGOP) is hereby requested by Robert H. Williams, faculty member of Clinton Community College as the principle grant requestor in a collaborative effort with Dr. John Moravek, Coordinator Geography Program at Plattsburgh State University College.


This grant is to be used to study the butte centered at x:752 v:4945 dn:81 dis:80.80.80 from MGSMOC PDS data product sp123903, which was the 2nd Cydonia targeted image acquired 7:02 AM PDT on 14 April 1998, as viewed with PDS NASAView software.This butte has a crater-hole that is centered at x:852 v:4976 dn:68 dis:69.69.69 that appears to have a vapor emanating from the interior of the hole into the atmosphere in real time and thus may be evidence of current active geological thermal activity of some type.The entire sp123903 image is centered on 40.84 deg N and 9.98 deg W with an image resolution of 2.5 m ( 8.2 feet ) per pixel.The feature can also be seen in the top left of the 6th portion of the PDS data set available at:



Even though this request is to re-image a feature contained in an existing data set, the requestor feels it does NOT fall under MGS Data Analysis Program (ROSS-2000 program element A.5.5) because to fully study the feature requires NEW data sets that have not yet been acquired and that these new data sets be at the highest resolution possible with the MOC.


The analysis presented herein was taken from the final processed image as posted by the PDS which was mirrored from the raw data to give the correct orientation. The vapor extends to the east and is consistent with the geomorphology of the area that show aeolian deposits on the eastern slope of the butte with the raised escarpment facing the generally western wind direction in the correctly oriented and enhanced image.The vapor may indicate current periglacial processes that may be continuing beneath the surface or within the crater itself that we canít see in this image.The crater itself is ~33 pixels in diameter measured from the western edge to the eastern outer edge making it ~ 82.5 meters ( 270.6 feet ) in size.The vapor may also be a result of geothermal activity taking place beneath the surface.The hypothesis of there being vapor from this feature is arrived at by visually inspecting the image and also by comparison of the albedo values for the ring of the crater-hole.From ~ the 1:00 position to the 7:00 position going counter-clockwise the albedo is very high for the rim on the western side.The eastern side of the rim has a much lower albedo with no other readily apparent explanation than that some type of vapor has obscured the ring, still clearly seen through the vapor but at reduced brightness.The average grayscale value for the bright ring is 143.875 and for the ring of the crater hole under the vapor the average grayscale value is 91.356.There is an average difference in brightness by 52.519 that is not explained by any other methodology at present due to the obscuring of the terrain by the vapor cloud.



This diffusion of the terrain and features beneath the vapor is also seen in the differences between the northern slope of the butte and the south and eastern slopes adjacent to the crater-hole but not evidenced in the western escarpment pixelation and of the surrounding western plain below the raised butte.This leads us to conclude some type of vapor of unknown composition and origin is between the instrument and the physical ground.The probability of a passing cloud just happening to be in the correct place and time to produce this effect cannot be discounted but is highly unlikely.To conclusively prove that a vapor of some type is emanating from the crater hole requires at least one more image of the feature, preferably two more images at the highest resolution the MOC is capable of which would allow for more precise 3-D modeling of the feature and area.At the 1.4 m resolution it is hoped the clarity and change in the vapor from 1 acquisition to the next would be evident and clearly seen.This difference, if noted between the two data products, would provide conclusive proof that a vapor is currently and activelyemanating from the crater-hole.


This analysis may also provide characterization of a potential landing site for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) if active vapor is found to be a characteristic of this site.It is also hoped that this investigation will improve atmospheric models that further the understanding and forecasting of atmospheric conditions on Mars given that active vapor is being replenished into the atmosphere by some geomorphic mechanism.It is hoped that NASA will choose this grant opportunity to re-image this feature using the MGS MOC under MGSGOP.


Clinton Community College and Plattsburgh State University College have had a close relationship for nearly 4 decades.†† I have been involved in two other projects with PSUC Student Association and a PSUC Board of Trustees member and its Committee on Community/Government Relations.This grant project will also involve other faculty from PSUC in the analysis of the MGS MOC data.I am requesting $55,000 for the purposes of this grant to produce an analysis of the data made available to me by the MGS team through this grant opportunity.$35,000 will be allocated for salary and any consulting fees paid to other faculty, or other professionals, whose opinions and work will be used in the evaluation of the data.$15,000 will be allocated for travel expenses to visit the MGS team and for scientific presentations at scientific venues.While every effort will be made to use existing resources of both schools, $5,000 will be allocated for equipment, software or other materials necessary to produce the analysis of the data.


It is understood that should NASA choose to fund this grant request that no additional funds will be required to be contributed by either Clinton Community College or Plattsburgh State University College.It is also understood that this grant can only be granted if the data requested is actually acquired by the MGS team.It is understood that in the final analysis papers and reports a full accounting of all funds will be included and made available according to PDS standards and in compliance with MGS product release guidelines and policies.


Thank you in advance of your consideration of this request.





Robert H. Williams, Faculty

Clinton Community College





Dr. John Moravek, Coordinator Geography Program

Plattsburgh State University College