Indirect evaluation of Mars Gravity Model 2011 using a replication experiment on Earth

Christian Hirt, Sten J. Claessens, Michael Kuhn, Will E. Featherstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Curtin University's Mars Gravity Model 2011 (MGM2011) is a high-resolution composite set of gravity field functionals that uses topography-implied gravity effects at medium- and short-scales (~125 km to ~3 km) to augment the space-collected MRO110B2 gravity model. Ground-truth gravity observations that could be used for direct validation of MGM2011 are not available on Mars's surface. To indirectly evaluate MGM2011 and its modelling principles, an as-close-as-possible replication of the MGM2011 modelling approach was performed on Earth as the planetary body with most detailed gravity field knowledge available. Comparisons among six ground-truth data sets (gravity disturbances, quasigeoid undulations and vertical deflections) and the MGM2011-replication over Europe and North America show unanimously that topography-implied gravity information improves upon space-collected gravity models over areas with rugged terrain. The improvements are ~55% and ~67% for gravity disturbances, ~12% and ~47% for quasigeoid undulations, and ~30% to ~50% for vertical deflections. Given that the correlation between space-collected gravity and topography is higher for Mars than Earth at spatial scales of a few 100 km, topography-implied gravity effects are more dominant on Mars. It is therefore reasonable to infer that the MGM2011 modelling approach is suitable, offering an improvement over space-collected Martian gravity field models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-975
Number of pages19
JournalStudia Geophysica et Geodaetica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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