Space Science Reviews

, Volume 211, Issue 1–4, pp 277–313 | Cite as

Potential Effects of Surface Temperature Variations and Disturbances and Thermal Convection on the Mars InSight HP3 Heat-Flow Determination

  • Paul Morgan
  • Suzanne E. Smrekar
  • Ralph Lorenz
  • Matthias Grott
  • Olaf Kroemer
  • Nils Müller


The HP3 instrument on the InSight lander mission will measure subsurface temperatures and thermal conductivities from which heat flow in the upper few meters of the regolith at the landing site will be calculated. The parameter to be determined is steady-state conductive heat flow, but temperatures may have transient perturbations resulting from surface temperature changes and there could be a component of thermal convection associated with heat transport by vertical flow of atmospheric gases over the depth interval of measurement. The experiment is designed so that it should penetrate to a depth below which surface temperature perturbations are smaller than the required measurement precision by the time the measurements are made. However, if the measurements are delayed after landing, and/or the probe does not penetrate to the desired depth, corrections may be necessary for the transient perturbations. Thermal convection is calculated to be negligible, but these calculations are based on unknown physical properties of the Mars regolith. The effects of thermal convection should be apparent at shallow depths where transient thermal perturbations would be observed to deviate from conductive theory. These calculations were required during proposal review and their probability of predicting a successful measurement a prerequisite for mission approval. However, their uncertainties lies in unmeasured physical parameters of the Mars regolith.


Mars Heat flow InSight HP3 Conduction Convection Barometric pumping 



PM was supported for this work by subcontract no. 1479970 for the InSight Mission from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This is InSight Contribution Number 28.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colorado Geological SurveyColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  3. 3.Space Exploration SectorJohns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryLaurelUSA
  4. 4.German Aerospace Center DLR BerlinInstitute of Planetary ResearchBerlinGermany

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