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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: July 2015

10 - Modeling approaches in planetary seismology

from Part III - Modeling approaches

Summary

Introduction

Of the many geophysical means that can be used to probe a planet's interior, seismology remains the most direct. Given that the seismic data gathered on the Moon over 40 years ago revolutionized our understanding of the Moon and are still being used today to produce new insight into the state of the lunar interior, it is no wonder that many future missions, both real and conceptual, plan to take seismometers to other planets.

To best facilitate the return of high-quality data from these instruments, as well as to further our understanding of the dynamic processes that modify a planet's interior, various modeling approaches are used to quantify parameters such as the amount and distribution of seismicity, tidal deformation, and seismic structure on and of the terrestrial planets. In addition, recent advances in wavefield modeling have permitted a renewed look at seismic energy transmission and the effects of attenuation and scattering, as well as the presence and effect of a core, on recorded seismograms. In this chapter, we will review these approaches.

Site selection for future planetary seismology missions

The ability of a seismic network to accurately locate an event improves as the number of seismometers increases. On Earth we take for granted that any given event will be relatively well located, due to the comparative ease of installation of seismometers. For planetary applications, we cannot count on a large distribution of stations. Various factors including cost, difficulty of installation, instrumentation longevity, and data transmission severely limit the number of instruments that have been or will be deployed on other planetary bodies. In this section, we will review various methods that can be employed to help determine the best landing sites for future planetary seismology missions, in order to maximize their scientific return. We focus here on the Moon and Mars, although many of these methods are adaptable to other planetary bodies.