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Sample records for mars analog lakes

  1. Polar Lakes and Springs as Analogs for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, C. P.

    1995-01-01

    If we accept the fluvial features as evidence of liquid water on Mars we conclude that early in Martian history there was an extensive period during which liquid water was prevalent and stable. The duration of this epoch and the environmental conditions that allowed for water flow are uncertain but because liquid water is the most critical environmental requirement for life on Earth, the observation that there was liquid water on Mars during on early epoch is a strong motivation for considering the possibility of past life. Microbial ecosystems can thrive in polar lakes and springs on Earth, such as those in the Antarctic dry valleys, even when the mean temperatures are well below freezing. Mars need not have ever been above freezing for life to persist. These microbial ecosystems provide specific models for possible past martian ecosystems and can be used in the development of methods to locate and identify analogous Martian fossil forms, if they exist.

  2. Bristol Dry Lake, California: An Analog for Ancient Lacustrine Environments on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, J. L.; Christensen, P. R.

    2016-05-01

    This study investigates Bristol Dry Lake, CA, as an analog site for ancient lakes on Mars. Water chemistry and spectra were used to explore the geology and chemistry of chlorides at Bristol and their impact on possible habitable environments on Mars.

  3. Antarctic Dry Valley Streams and Lakes: Analogs for Noachian Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, James; Marchant, David

    2013-04-01

    Recent climate models suggest that Noachian Mars may have been characterized by a "cold and icy", rather than a "warm and wet" climate. Noachian valley networks and open basin lakes have been cited as key evidence for a "warm and wet" early Mars. We investigate fluvial and lacustrine processes in the Mars-like Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) to assess whether such processes, which take place in the absence of pluvial activity and with mean annual temperatues (MAT) well below zero, can serve as informative proxies for Noachian Mars. In contrast to temperate climates, fluvial processes in the MDV (and thus a host of weathering, erosion and transport processes there) are severely limited by the lack of rainfall. The limited sources of meltwater provide very local streams and hyporheic zones, serving to concentrate chemical weathering processes and biological ecosystems. The horizontally stratified hydrologic system means that localized meltwater is constrained to flow in a very shallow and narrow aquifer perched on top of the ice table aquiclude. Lakes and ponds in temperate areas are largely of pluvial origin and characterized by abundant vegetation, large drainage basins and higher order streams delivering rainwater. In contrast, the hyperarid, hypothermal conditions in the MDV mean that there is no rainfall, water sources are limited primarily to meltwater from the surface of cold-based glaciers, and drainage into lakes is seasonal and highly variable, being related to changing and sluggish response to surface ice hypsometry, itself a function of changing climate. Lake surface fluctuations are caused by imbalances between meltwater input and sublimation from the lake surface ice and this sensitive balance tends to magnify even minor climate signals. Where does the lakewater come from and under what conditions is excess meltwater produced to cause modifications in their levels? The dominant means of supply (meltwater) and loss (ablation) are clearly seasonally

  4. Mono Lake Analog Mars Sample Return Expedition for AMASE

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Conrad, P. G.; Steele, A.; Younse, P.; DiCicco, M.; Morgan, A. R.; Backes, P.; Eigenbrode, J. E.; Marquardt, D.; Amundsen, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    We explored the performance of one robotic prototype for sample acquisition and caching of martian materials that has been developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for potential use in the proposed MAX-C Mars Sample Return architecture in an environment, rich in chemical diversity with a variety of mineralogical textures. Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve in Mono County, CA possesses a variety of minerals including a variety of evaporites, volcanic glass and lava, and sand and mudstones. The lake itself is an interesting chemical system: the water is highly alkaline (pH is approximately 10) and contains concentrations of Cl, K, B, with lesser amounts of S Ca Mg, F, As, Li, I and Wand generally enriched HREEs. There are also traces of radioactive elements U, Th, Pl.

  5. Alkaline Hypersaline Lakes as Analogs for Ancient Microbial Habitats on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McDonald, G. D.; Tsapin, A. I.; Storrie-Lombardi, M. C.; Nealson, K. H.; Brinton, K. L. F.; Sun, H.; Venkateswaren, K.; Tsapin, I.; Melack, J.; Jellison, R.

    1999-01-01

    As the climate of ancient Mars became colder and drier with time, open bodies of water would have entered a regime in which evaporation exceeded input from precipitation or runoff. This would have resulted in increases in salinity and perhaps pH. The last open water on Mars was most likely found in alkaline hypersaline lakes, and these lakes would have been the last surface aquatic habitats for life on Mars. It follows, then, that the biomarkers most likely to be found in ancient sedimentary basins on Mars are those left by organisms adapted to high salt and high pH environments. We have begun to investigate the nature of biological diversity and adaptation to these environments, and the potential for biomarker preservation in them, using Mono Lake as a terrestrial analog environment. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  6. Polar Lakes, Streams, and Springs as Analogs for the Hydrological Cycle on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, Christopher P.; Andersen, Dale T.; Pollard, Wayne H.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Doran, Peter T.; Fritsen, Christian H.; Priscu, John C.

    The extensive fluvial features seen on the surface of Mars attest to the stable flow of water on that planet at some time in the past. However the low erosion rates, the sporadic distribution of the fluvial features, and computer simulations of the climate of early Mars all suggest that Mars was quite cold even when it was wet. Thus, the polar regions of the Earth provide potentially important analogs to conditions on Mars during its wet, but cold, early phase. Here we review studies of polar lakes, streams, and springs and compare the physical and geological aspects of these features with their possible Martian counterparts. Fundamentally, liquid water produced by summer melts can persist even when the mean annual temperature is below freezing because ice floats over liquid and provides an insulating barrier. Life flourishes in these liquid water habitats in Earth's polar regions and similarly life may have been present in ice-covered lakes and permafrost springs on Mars. Evidence for past life on Mars may therefore be preserved in the sediments and mineral precipitates associated with these features.

  7. Microbial mats in playa lakes and other saline habitats: Early Mars analog?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bauld, John

    1989-01-01

    Microbial mats are cohesive benthic microbial communities which inhabit various Terra (Earth-based) environments including the marine littoral and both permanent and ephemeral (playa) saline lakes. Certain geomorphological features of Mars, such as the Margaritifer Sinus, were interpreted as ancient, dried playa lakes, presumably formed before or during the transition to the present Mars climate. Studies of modern Terran examples suggest that microbial mats on early Mars would have had the capacity to survive and propagate under environmental constraints that would have included irregularly fluctuating regimes of water activity and high ultraviolet flux. Assuming that such microbial communities did indeed inhabit early Mars, their detection during the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission depends upon the presence of features diagnostic of the prior existence of these communities or their component microbes or, as an aid to choosing suitable landing, local exploration or sampling sites, geomorphological, sedimentological or chemical features characteristic of their playa lake habitats. Examination of modern Terran playas (e.g., the Lake Eyre basin) shows that these features span several orders of magnitude in size. While stromatolites are commonly centimeter-meter scale features, bioherms or fields of individuals may extend to larger scales. Preservation of organic matter (mats and microbes) would be favored in topographic lows such as channels or ponds of high salinity, particularly those receiving silica-rich groundwaters. These areas are likely to be located near former zones of groundwater emergence and/or where flood channels entered the paleo-playa. Fossil playa systems which may aid in assessing the applicability of this particular Mars analog include the Cambrian Observatory Hill Beds of the Officer Basin and the Eocene Wilkins Peak Member of the Green River Formation.

  8. Australian Acid Playa Lake as a Mars Analog: Results from Sediment Lipid Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H.; Baldridge, A. M.; Stern, J. C.

    2015-12-01

    The ephemeral saline acidic lakes on the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia have been suggested as geochemical analogues to martian terrains. Both are characterized by interbedded phyllosilicates and hydrated sulfates. On Mars, these areas indicate shifting environmental conditions, from the neutral/alkaline and wet conditions that dominated during the Noachian era to the more familiar dry, acidic conditions that began in the Hesperian. The habitability of such a dynamic environment can be informed by investigation of the Yilgarn Lake system. Previous work has found phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) evidence of microbial communities in sections of sediment cores taken from Lake Gilmore. These communities include both Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, Actinomycetes, and even methanotrophs. Given recurring detection of methane on the martian surface, evidence of a methane cycling community in an analogous environment is of particular interest. In this study we analyze the carbon isotope composition of bulk organic material as well as extracted lipids from the Lake Gilmore sediment cores at both a near-shore and mid-lake location. These analyses reveal very low accumulations of organic carbon, concentrated primarily in the gypsum-rich near-shore core. The near-shore sediments show a down-core decrease in abundance of organic carbon as well as depletion in the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) with depth. Bulk carbon did not exhibit the unique, highly depleted, diagnostic signature associated with methanotrophic biomass. Compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of carbon in extracted methanotroph PFLAs can confirm the presence of a methane cycling metabolism at depth. Also, additional extractions have isolated lipids associated with lake-edge grasses. These analyses consider both the chain-length distribution and carbon CSIA of these lipids in order to understand the effect of terrestrial detritus on any preserved methanotroph carbon signal, given the very low

  9. Australian Acid Brine Lake as a Mars Analog: An Analysis of Preserved Lipids in Shore and Lake Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H. V.; Stern, J. C.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomsen, B. J.

    2016-05-01

    This study investigates organic molecules preserved in sediment cores from an acid brine lake. We explore the distribution and stable isotopic composition of lipids in order to understand preservation potential in similar martian environments.

  10. Aeolian sand as a tool for understanding Mars: Thermal infrared remote sensing of volcaniclastic Mars-analog sand dunes in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.

    1996-10-01

    INTRODUCTION: On Earth, aeolian sand dunes are used as tools of scientific inquiry. Holocene and Pleistocene dunes preserve clues about Quaternary climate variations and human activities ranging from Ice Age hunting practices to Twentieth Century warfare. Modern dunes contain the sedimentary textures and structures necessary for interpreting ancient sandstones, and they provide natural laboratories for investigation of aeolian physics and desertification processes. The dunes of Mars can likewise be used as scientific tools. Dunes provide relatively dust-free surfaces. From a remote sensing perspective, martian dunes have much potential for providing clues about surface mineralogy and the interaction between the surface and atmosphere. Such information can in turn provide insights regarding crust composition, volcanic evolution, present and past climate events, and perhaps weathering rates. The Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) is expected to reach the planet in September 1997. TES will provide 6 to 50 micrometer spectra of the martian surface at ground resolutions of 3 to 9 km. Sandy aeolian environments on Mars might provide key information about bedrock composition. To prepare for the TES investigation, I have been examining a thermal infrared image of a Mars-composition analog dune field in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon. COMPOSITION AND GEOLOGIC SETTING: The "Shifting Sand Dunes" dune field is located at the eastern end of Christmas Lake Valley, in what was once the Pleistocene Fort Rock Lake [1]. Much of the sand that makes up the Shifting Sand Dunes dune field is reworked Mt. Mazama airfall from its terminal eruption 6,800 years ago, plus material deflated from the lake bed [1, 2]. The main constituents of the dunes are volcanic glass and devitrified glass fragments, plagioclase crystals, basalt lithic fragments, aggregates of silt and clay-size volcanic ash, pyroxenes, opaque oxide minerals (mostly magnetite), and trace occurrences of

  11. The MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    PubMed

    Groemer, Gernot; Soucek, Alexander; Frischauf, Norbert; Stumptner, Willibald; Ragonig, Christoph; Sams, Sebastian; Bartenstein, Thomas; Häuplik-Meusburger, Sandra; Petrova, Polina; Evetts, Simon; Sivenesan, Chan; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    We report on the MARS2013 mission, a 4-week Mars analog field test in the northern Sahara. Nineteen experiments were conducted by a field crew in Morocco under simulated martian surface exploration conditions, supervised by a Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria. A Remote Science Support team analyzed field data in near real time, providing planning input for the management of a complex system of field assets; two advanced space suit simulators, four robotic vehicles, an emergency shelter, and a stationary sensor platform in a realistic work flow were coordinated by a Flight Control Team. A dedicated flight planning group, external control centers for rover tele-operations, and a biomedical monitoring team supported the field operations. A 10 min satellite communication delay and other limitations pertinent to human planetary surface activities were introduced. The fields of research for the experiments were geology, human factors, astrobiology, robotics, tele-science, exploration, and operations research. This paper provides an overview of the geological context and environmental conditions of the test site and the mission architecture, in particular the communication infrastructure emulating the signal travel time between Earth and Mars. We report on the operational work flows and the experiments conducted, including a deployable shelter prototype for multiple-day extravehicular activities and contingency situations. PMID:24823799

  12. Analysis of the Paleoenvironment of Gale Crater on Mars: Using Ephemeral Lakes in Western Australia as Analogs to the Mineral Assemblages of Gale Crater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cocks, C.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomson, B. J.

    2014-12-01

    Aluminum and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates, as well as sulfates, are abundant in the layered sediments of the central mound of Gale Crater on Mars. Each of these mineral types are useful indicators of depositional conditions regarding pH, where Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates form in higher pH waters, while Al-phyllosilicates and sulfates form in more acidic waters. A general succession from higher pH aquatic environments to lower pH environments is evident during the Noachian and early Hesperian (3.6~3.8 Ga). However, substantial interbedding of these mineral groups is also observed at Gale, indicating pH boundaries that existed contemporaneously at the time of deposition. This is consistent with mineral distributions that are observed in ephemeral lakes on Earth, making them useful as analogs to the geochemistry of Gale Crater. This study will analyze the surficial mineral depositional patterns at Lake Gilmore, WA, to better understand how pH gradients are represented in contemporaneous sediment deposits. This will be performed by identifying minerals based on their unique reflectance signatures in the visible to near-infrared range (0.5-2.5 mm). Reflectance data collected by the HyMap™ hyperspectral scanner will be analyzed using the ENVI software to map the predominant minerals present on the lakebed surface. We expect to see minerals associated with a pH gradient that is related to lake depth, with Fe and alkali earth phyllosilicates representing deeper, less acidic waters, and aluminous phyllosilicates and sulfates representing near surface waters that are more acidic. This is potentially due to the circulation of upwelling groundwaters, or the change in chemistry may have arisen due to microbial activity, an intriguing possibility that would have significant implications for evidence of past microbial life on the Martian surface and would provide a more detailed picture of the paleoenvironment at Gale Crater.

  13. Ancient lakes on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goldspiel, J. M.; Squyres, S. W.

    1989-01-01

    The valley systems in Mars' ancient cratered terrain provide strong evidence for a warmer and wetter climate very early in planetary history. The valley systems in some instances debouch into closed depressions that could have acted as local ponding basins for the flow. A survey of the Martian equatorial region shows that numerous local depressions at the confluence of valley systems exist. These depressions (approximately 100 km) typically are characterized by many valleys flowing into them and few or none flowing out. If ponding did take place, these basin would have contained lakes for some period during Mars' early warmer epoch. Although the collection basins are numerous, location of ones that have not suffered significant subsequent geologic modification is difficult. Some morphologic features suggest that volcanic lavas may have filled them subsequent to any early fluvial activity. Two detailed maps of valley systems and local ponding basins in USGC 1:2,000,000 subquadrangles were completed and a third is in progress. The completed regions are in Mare Tyrrhenum (MC-22 SW) and Margarifter Sinus (MC-19 SE), and the region in progress is in Iapygia (MC-21 NW). On the maps, the valley systems and interpreted margins of ponding basins are indicated. The depressions are of interest for two reasons. First, the depressions were surely the sites in which the materials eroded from the valleys were deposited. Such sediments could preserve important information about the physical conditions at the time of deposition. Second, the sediments could preserve evidence of water-atmosphere interactions during the early period of the Martian climate. Atmospheric carbon dioxide would dissolve in water, and solid carbonate minerals would tend to precipitate out to form carbonate sedimentary deposits. Formation of carbonates in this manner might account for some of the CO2 lost from the early more dense atmosphere.

  14. The aqueous stability of a Mars salt analog: Instant Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuding, D. L.; Davis, R. D.; Gough, R. V.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2015-03-01

    Due to their stability in low-temperature conditions, aqueous salt solutions are the favored explanation for potential fluid features observed on present-day Mars. A salt analog was developed to closely match the individual cation and anion concentrations at the Phoenix landing site as reported by the Wet Chemistry Laboratory instrument. "Instant Mars" closely replicates correct relative concentrations of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, perchlorate, chloride, and sulfate ions. A Raman microscope equipped with an environmental cellprobed liquid water uptake and loss by Instant Mars particles in a Mars relevant temperature and relative humidity (RH) environment. Our experiments reveal that Instant Mars particles can form stable, aqueous solutions starting at 56 ± 5% RH between 235 K and 243 K and persist as a metastable, aqueous solution at or above 13 ± 5% RH. Particle levitation using an optical trap examined the phase state and morphology of suspended Instant Mars particles exposed to changing water vapor conditions at room temperature. Levitation experiments indicate that water uptake began at 42 ± 8% RH for Instant Mars particles at 293 K. As RH is decreased at 293 K, the aqueous Instant Mars particles transition into a crystalline solid at 18 ± 7% RH. These combined results demonstrate that Instant Mars can take up water vapor from the surrounding environment and transition into a stable, aqueous solution. Furthermore, this aqueous Instant Mars solution can persist as a metastable, supersaturated solution in low-RH conditions.

  15. The 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Lee

    2014-01-01

    The 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were completed on Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii in July 2012. The investigations were conducted on the southeast flank of the Mauna Kea volcano at an elevation of approximately 11,500 ft. This area is known as "Apollo Valley" and is in an adjacent valley to the Very Large Baseline Array dish antenna.

  16. Dust deposits on Mars: The 'parna' analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Williams, Steven H.

    1994-01-01

    Parna is an Autralian aboriginal word meaning 'sandy dust'. It has been applied to deposits of clay, silt, and sand which were initially transported by the wind as aggregates, or pellets, of sand size. Parna is distinguished by its silt and clay content, which in some cases exceeds 85% of the total volume of the deposit. Much of the fine-grained playa silt and clay is incorporated into the parna as sand-sized aggregates, which greatly facilitate their transportation and reworking by the wind. Rain following aggregate emplacement can cause their disintegration, rendering the parna immobile by the wind, yet some pellets can survive several wetting/drying episodes. Parna deposits on Earth occur both as dune forms and as sheet deposits which mantle older terrains. In both cases the deposits are typically derived from lacustrine (lake) beds, such as playas. There is substantial evidence to suggest that bodies of water existed on Mars in the past. Thus, the potential is high for lacustrine deposits and the formation of parna on Mars. Although no parna dunes have been identified, it is suggested that the deposits derived from White Rock (-8 deg, 335 deg W), near Mamers Valles (34 deg, 343 deg W), and elsewhere on Mars may represent sheet parna. Data obtained from Mars-94/96 missions and potential landed spacecraft may provide additional evidence for the existence of parna on Mars.

  17. Eastern Sahara Geology from Orbital Radar: Potential Analog to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farr, T. G.; Paillou, P.; Heggy, E.

    2004-01-01

    Much of the surface of Mars has been intensely reworked by aeolian processes and key evidence about the history of the Martian environment seems to be hidden beneath a widespread layer of debris (paleo lakes and rivers, faults, impact craters). In the same way, the recent geological and hydrological history of the eastern Sahara is still mainly hidden under large regions of wind-blown sand which represent a possible terrestrial analog to Mars. The subsurface geology there is generally invisible to optical remote sensing techniques, but radar images obtained from the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) missions were able to penetrate the superficial sand layer to reveal parts of paleohydrological networks in southern Egypt.

  18. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans: Chapter 21

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chan, M.A.; Jewell, P.; Parker, T.J.; Ormo, J.; Okubo, Chris; Komatsu, G.

    2016-01-01

    Geomorphic confirmation for a putative ancient Mars ocean relies on analog comparisons of coastal-like features such as shoreline feature attributes and temporal scales of process formation. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville is one of the few large, geologically young, terrestrial lake systems that exemplify well-preserved shoreline characteristics that formed quickly, on the order of a thousand years or less. Studies of Lake Bonneville provide two essential analog considerations for interpreting shorelines on Mars: (1) morphological variations in expression depend on constructional vs erosional processes, and (2) shorelines are not always correlative at an equipotential elevation across a basin due to isostasy, heat flow, wave setup, fetch, and other factors. Although other large terrestrial lake systems display supporting evidence for geomorphic comparisons, Lake Bonneville encompasses the most integrated examples of preserved coastal features related to basin history, sediment supply, climate, and fetch, all within the context of a detailed hydrograph. These collective terrestrial lessons provide a framework to evaluate possible boundary conditions for ancient Mars hydrology and large water body environmental feedbacks. This knowledge of shoreline characteristics, processes, and environments can support explorations of habitable environments and guide future mission explorations.

  19. Utah Marbles and Mars Blueberries: Comparitive Terrestrial Analogs for Hematite Concretions on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Beitler, B.; Parry, W. T.; Ormö, J.; Komatsu, G.

    2005-03-01

    Compelling comparisons show why Utah iron oxide-cemented "marbles" are a good analog for Mars hematite "blueberries". Terrestrial examples offer valuable models for interpreting the diagenetic history and importance of water on Mars.

  20. Photometric properties of Mars soils analogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pommerol, A.; Thomas, N.; Jost, B.; Beck, P.; Okubo, C.; McEwen, A.S.

    2013-01-01

    We have measured the bidirectional reflectance of analogs of dry, wet, and frozen Martian soils over a wide range of phase angles in the visible spectral range. All samples were produced from two geologic samples: the standard JSC Mars-1 soil simulant and Hawaiian basaltic sand. In a first step, experiments were conducted with the dry samples to investigate the effects of surface texture. Comparisons with results independently obtained by different teams with similar samples showed a satisfying reproducibility of the photometric measurements as well as a noticeable influence of surface textures resulting from different sample preparation procedures. In a second step, water was introduced to produce wet and frozen samples and their photometry investigated. Optical microscope images of the samples provided information about their microtexture. Liquid water, even in relatively low amount, resulted in the disappearance of the backscattering peak and the appearance of a forward-scattering peak whose intensity increases with the amount of water. Specular reflections only appeared when water was present in an amount large enough to allow water to form a film at the surface of the sample. Icy samples showed a wide variability of photometric properties depending on the physical properties of the water ice. We discuss the implications of these measurements in terms of the expected photometric behavior of the Martian surface, from equatorial to circum-polar regions. In particular, we propose some simple photometric criteria to improve the identification of wet and/or icy soils from multiple observations under different geometries.

  1. Photometric properties of Mars soils analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pommerol, A.; Thomas, N.; Jost, B.; Beck, P.; Okubo, C.; McEwen, A. S.

    2013-10-01

    We have measured the bidirectional reflectance of analogs of dry, wet, and frozen Martian soils over a wide range of phase angles in the visible spectral range. All samples were produced from two geologic samples: the standard JSC Mars-1 soil simulant and Hawaiian basaltic sand. In a first step, experiments were conducted with the dry samples to investigate the effects of surface texture. Comparisons with results independently obtained by different teams with similar samples showed a satisfying reproducibility of the photometric measurements as well as a noticeable influence of surface textures resulting from different sample preparation procedures. In a second step, water was introduced to produce wet and frozen samples and their photometry investigated. Optical microscope images of the samples provided information about their microtexture. Liquid water, even in relatively low amount, resulted in the disappearance of the backscattering peak and the appearance of a forward-scattering peak whose intensity increases with the amount of water. Specular reflections only appeared when water was present in an amount large enough to allow water to form a film at the surface of the sample. Icy samples showed a wide variability of photometric properties depending on the physical properties of the water ice. We discuss the implications of these measurements in terms of the expected photometric behavior of the Martian surface, from equatorial to circum-polar regions. In particular, we propose some simple photometric criteria to improve the identification of wet and/or icy soils from multiple observations under different geometries.

  2. Weathering of Mars - Antarctic analog studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkley, J. L.; Drake, M. J.

    1981-01-01

    Subaerial extrusion of lavas above permafrost is proposed as a possible weathering regime leading to the presence of Martian surface fines, and the characteristics of this process are examined through a study of the analogous altered terrestrial basalts from Antarctica. On the basis of mineralogical and petrological analyses of samples obtained from core cuttings recovered by the Dry Valley Drilling Program from rocks predominantly of an aklalic basalt-phonolite suite, it is found that in the absence of liquid water, weathering is geologically slow, and that zeolites predominate over clays as secondary mineral. Of the possible weathering processes proposed for Mars, it is concluded that both subaerial extrusion and subpermafrost intrusion of lavas involving liquid water would be less important volumetrically than the hydrothermal alteration of impact melt sheets if water were present during an intense phase of early bombardment, or than subsequent solid-gas alteration reactions. It is thus predicted that the present Martian fines should contain a major contribution from the ancient crust as typified by the southern cratered highlands, and a lesser contribution from the younger basaltic lavas.

  3. Ice megadunes on Mars: analogy with Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herny, Clémence; Massé, Marion; Bourgeois, Olivier; Carpy, Sabrina; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Appéré, Thomas; Smith, Isaac; Spiga, Aymeric; Rodriguez, Sébastien

    2014-05-01

    Mass and energy balance of ice sheets are driven by complex interactions between the atmosphere and the cryosphere. Feedbacks between katabatic winds and the cryosphere may lead to the formation of sedimentation waves, so-called megadunes, at the surface of ice sheets. These have been first described in Antarctica. Here we use topographic data, optical images, and spectroscopic data acquired by Mars orbiters. We show that the surface of the Martian North Polar Cap displays two superimposed sets of sedimentation waves with differing wavelengths. These sedimentation waves have similarities with Antarctic ice megadunes regarding their surface morphology, texture, grain size, and internal stratigraphic architecture. Their shallow-dipping upwind sides, their tops and the intervening troughs are covered by young ice and occasional sastrugi fields, indicative of net accumulation. On the other hand, their steep-dipping downwind sides either expose exhumed layers of dusty old ice or correspond to smooth surfaces of coarse-grained ice, indicative of net ablation or reduced net accumulation associated with sublimation and metamorphism. These surface characteristics and the internal stratigraphic architecture revealed by radar sounding are consistent with the interpretation that both sets of Martian sedimentation waves grow and migrate upwind in response to the development of periodic accumulation/ablation patterns controlled by katabatic winds. The smaller waves, characterized by reduced net accumulation on their downwind sides, are probably analogous to the Antarctic megadunes that have been described so far. On the other hand, a terrestrial equivalent remains to be discovered for the larger ones, characterized by net ablation on their downwind sides. The recognition of these sedimentation waves provides the basis for the development of a common model of ice/wind interaction at the surface of Martian and terrestrial ice sheets and for future investigations on the respective

  4. Mars Analog Simulations for Future Human Missions to Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Engler, S. T.; Binsted, K.

    2014-07-01

    The NASA funded HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) is a planetary surface exploration analog site at ~8500 feet on the Mauna Loa side of the saddle area on the Big Island of Hawaii.

  5. Exobiology site selection for future Mars missions: Martian paleolake sediments and terrestrial analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wharton, Robert A., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    This research was conducted to establish the scientific framework for the exobiological study of sediments on Mars and to encourage the selection of these sedimentary deposits as sampling sites for future Mars missions. A study was completed on the Antarctic Dry Valley Lakes (terrestrial analogs of the purported Martian paleolakes) and their sediments that allowed the development of quantitative models relating environmental factors to the nature of the biological community and sediment forming processes. The publications presented include: (1) Diversity of micro-fungi isolated in an Antarctic dry valley; (2) Lake Hoare, Antarctica--sedimentation through a thick perennial ice cover; (3) The possibility of life on Mars during a water-rich past; (4) An Antarctic research outpost as a model for planetary exploration; (5) Early Martian environments--the Antarctic and other terrestrial analogs; (6) Lipophilic pigments from the benthos of a perennially ice-covered Antarctic lake; and (7) Perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare, Antarctica--physical environment, biology, and sedimentation.

  6. In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shiro, B. R.; Ferrone, K. L.

    2010-01-01

    We carried out three geophysical experiments in Mars analog environments in order to better understand the challenges future astronauts will face when conducting similar surveys on Mars or the Moon. The experiments included a passive seismometer deployment and a time-domain electromagnetic survey at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island, Canada and a seismic refraction survey in southeastern Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). FMARS is located on the rim of the 23 Ma Haughton Crater in a polar desert environment. MDRS is located in an area with sedimentary plateaus and canyons of Jurassic to Cretaceous age. Both facilities were built by The Mars Society to help develop key knowledge about human Mars exploration. Crews of six spend 2-4 weeks in the habitats and conduct eld research on simulated extravehicular activities (EVAs) wearing mock spacesuits. The work reported here was conducted in July 2009 at FMARS and February 2010 at MDRS.

  7. Ferric sulfate montmorillonites as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band-strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Ferric - sulfate - montmorillonite samples have been prepared more recently because they are a good compositional match with the surface material on Mars as measured by Viking. Reflectance spectra of montmorillonite doped with ferric sulfate in the interlayer regions include a strong 3 micron band that persists under dry conditions. This is in contrast to spectra of similarly prepared ferric-doped montmorillonites, which exhibit a relatively weaker 3 micron band under comparable dry environmental conditions. Presented here are reflectance spectra of a suite of ferric-sulfate exchanged montmorillonites prepared with variable ferric sulfate concentrations and variable pH conditions.

  8. Drilling Automation Tests At A Lunar/Mars Analog Site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B.; Cannon, H.; Hanagud, S.; Lee, P.; Paulsen, G.

    2006-01-01

    Future in-situ lunar/martian resource utilization and characterization, as well as the scientific search for life on Mars, will require access to the subsurface and hence drilling. Drilling on Earth is hard - an art form more than an engineering discipline. The limited mass, energy and manpower in planetary drilling situations makes application of terrestrial drilling techniques problematic. The Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration (DAME) project is developing drilling automation and robotics for projected use in missions to the Moon and Mars in the 2011-15 period. This has been tested recently, drilling in permafrost at a lunar/martian analog site (Haughton Crater, Devon Island, Canada).

  9. High Lakes Project -- Impact of Climate Variability and High UV Flux on Lake Habitat: Implications for Early Mars and Present-Day Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Bebout, L.; Chong, G.; Demergasso, C.; Fleming, E.; Gaete, V.; Gibson, J.; Häder, D. P.; Mack, J.; Minkley, E.; Pinto, E.; Rose, K.; Ukstins Peate, I.; Tambley, C.; Williamson, C.; Wynne, J. J.

    2009-03-01

    HLP studies lakes between 4,200-6,000 m elevation in the Central Andes. Its primary objective is to understand the impact of increased environmental stress on lake habitats and their evolution during rapid climate change as an analogy to early Mars.

  10. Mars for Earthlings: A Higher Educational Terrestrial Analog Approach for Teaching Integrated Earth and Planetary Science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Robinson, J. K.

    2012-03-01

    "Mars for Earthlings" teaching modules use Earth analogs to explore Mars at an introductory college level. This integrated approach increases science literacy and attracts students to STEM disciplines.

  11. Hints of Habitable Environments on Mars Challenge Our Studies of Mars-Analog Sites on Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    desMarais, David J

    2009-01-01

    Life as we know it requires water with a chemical activity (alpha) >or approx.0.6 and sources of nutrients and useful energy. Some biota can survive even if favorable conditions occur only intermittently, but the minimum required frequency of occurrences is poorly understood. Recent discoveries have vindicated the Mars exploration strategy to follow the water. Mars Global Surveyor s Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) found coarse-grained hematite at Meridiani Planum. Opportunity rover confirmed this and also found evidence of ancient sulfate-rich playa lakes and near-surface groundwater. Elsewhere, TES found evidence of evaporitic halides in topographic depressions. But alpha might not have approached 0.6 in these evaporitic sulfate- and halide-bearing waters. Mars Express (MEX) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found extensive sulfate evaporites in Meridiani and Valles Marineris. MEX found phyllosilicates at several sites, most notably Mawrth Valles and Nili Fossae. MRO's CRISM near-IR mapper extended the known diversity and geographic distribution of phyllosilicates to include numerous Noachian craters. Phyllosilicates typically occur at the base of exposed ancient rock sections or in sediments in early Hesperian craters. It is uncertain whether the phyllosilicates developed in surface or subsurface aqueous environments and how long aqueous conditions persisted. Spirit rover found remarkably pure ferric sulfate, indicating oxidation and transport of Fe and S, perhaps in fumaroles or hot springs. Spirit also found opaline silica, consistent with hydrothermal activity. CRISM mapped extensive silica deposits in the Valles Marineris region, consistent with aqueous weathering and deposition. CRISM also found ultramafic rocks and magnesite at Nili Fossae, consistent with serpentinization, a process that can sustain habitable environments on Earth. The report of atmospheric methane implies subsurface aqueous conditions. A working hypothesis is that aqueous

  12. Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia and life in the Atacama: Environmental physics and analogies to Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hock, Andrew Nelson

    Although there is no perfect environmental analog to Mars on Earth, quantitative study of relevant terrestrial field sites can serve as the basis for physical models and technology development to aid future exploration. This dissertation describes original field and laboratory research on two terrestrial analog sites: Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia, and the Atacama Desert, Chile. Atop Licancabur, at an elevation of nearly 6,000 meters above sea level, sits the highest volcanic lake on Earth. Prior to this work, little was known about the lake, its waters, the role of volcanism or its potential relationship to locales on Mars. In the first part of this work, I describe observations of the lake resulting from several years of field study, including data on meteorological conditions and solar irradiance. These and other measurements provide the basis for (1) the first quantitative mass and energy balance model of the lake, and (2) the first determination of the altitude effect on solar visible and ultraviolet flux from the high altitude summit. Under the observed conditions, model results indicate: lake waters are primarily meteoric in origin and evaporating rapidly; volcanic input is not required to explain observations of lake water temperature or year-end model results. Nearby, Chile's Atacama Desert is known to be one of the driest, most inhospitable environments on Earth. There, environmental similarities to Mars provide an apt testing ground for new astrobiological exploration technologies. In the latter part of this work, I present results from my work with the Life In The Atacama (LITA) Mars rover field experiment. In particular, I report on the development of a new data analysis tool named the LITA Data Scoring System (DSS). Subject to the user-defined constraints, the DSS was used to facilitate targeting, analysis and mapping of rover science results relevant to potential habitability and evidence for life at three desert field sites. Although experimental in

  13. Considerations on Terrestrial Iron Depositing Analogs to Earliest Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, Igor I.; Allen, Carlton C.; Sarkisova, S. A.; Garrison, D. H.; McKay, D. S.

    2007-01-01

    Iron oxide and hydroxide minerals, including hematite, can mineralize and preservemicrofossils and physical biomarkers (Allen at al., 2004). Preserved remnants of phototrophic microorganisms are recognized as biosignatures of past life on Earth (Schopf, 2006). To date, two types of surface iron depositing environments have been studied as analogs to possible habitable environments on earliest Mars: the highly acidified Rio Tinto River (Iberian Belt, Spain) [Gomez Ortis et al., 2007], and the nearneutral iron depositing Chocolate Pots Hot Spring (Yellowstone National Park, US) [Parenteau at al., 2005]. While phototrophs in the Rio Tinto are only represented by eukaryotic algae (Amaral Zettler et all., 2002), Chocolate Pots is mainly populated with cyanobacteria (Pierson et all., 2000; Brown et all., 2007). Which of these environments is the closer analog to a potentially habitable early Mars? Paleobiological data, combined with recent "tree of life" interpretations, suggest that phototrophic eukaryotes evolved not earlier than 2.5 - 2.8 b.y. after Earth s accretion (4.6 b.y.), while cyanobacteria and /or their iron-tolerant predecessors evolved between 1 - 1.5 b.y. after accretion (Brown et al., 2007). Lindsay and Brasier (2002) postulated that microbial life on Mars surface could have lasted no more than 1-1.5 b.y. after Mars accretion (also 4.6 b.y.). Recent multispectral mapping of Mars suggests that near-neutral wet environments prevailed at approximately this time (Bibring, et al., 2006). Thus, near-neutral iron depositing hot springs such as Chocolate Pots Hot Spring seem to be the more likely habitable analogs for earliest Mars.

  14. Mars for Earthlings: an analog approach to Mars in undergraduate education.

    PubMed

    Chan, Marjorie; Kahmann-Robinson, Julia

    2014-01-01

    Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is a terrestrial Earth analog pedagogical approach to teaching undergraduate geology, planetary science, and astrobiology. MFE utilizes Earth analogs to teach Mars planetary concepts, with a foundational backbone in Earth science principles. The field of planetary science is rapidly changing with new technologies and higher-resolution data sets. Thus, it is increasingly important to understand geological concepts and processes for interpreting Mars data. MFE curriculum is topically driven to facilitate easy integration of content into new or existing courses. The Earth-Mars systems approach explores planetary origins, Mars missions, rocks and minerals, active driving forces/tectonics, surface sculpting processes, astrobiology, future explorations, and hot topics in an inquiry-driven environment. Curriculum leverages heavily upon multimedia resources, software programs such as Google Mars and JMARS, as well as NASA mission data such as THEMIS, HiRISE, CRISM, and rover images. Two years of MFE class evaluation data suggest that science literacy and general interest in Mars geology and astrobiology topics increased after participation in the MFE curriculum. Students also used newly developed skills to create a Mars mission team presentation. The MFE curriculum, learning modules, and resources are available online at http://serc.carleton.edu/marsforearthlings/index.html. PMID:24359289

  15. Mars for Earthlings: An Analog Approach to Mars in Undergraduate Education

    PubMed Central

    Kahmann-Robinson, Julia

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is a terrestrial Earth analog pedagogical approach to teaching undergraduate geology, planetary science, and astrobiology. MFE utilizes Earth analogs to teach Mars planetary concepts, with a foundational backbone in Earth science principles. The field of planetary science is rapidly changing with new technologies and higher-resolution data sets. Thus, it is increasingly important to understand geological concepts and processes for interpreting Mars data. MFE curriculum is topically driven to facilitate easy integration of content into new or existing courses. The Earth-Mars systems approach explores planetary origins, Mars missions, rocks and minerals, active driving forces/tectonics, surface sculpting processes, astrobiology, future explorations, and hot topics in an inquiry-driven environment. Curriculum leverages heavily upon multimedia resources, software programs such as Google Mars and JMARS, as well as NASA mission data such as THEMIS, HiRISE, CRISM, and rover images. Two years of MFE class evaluation data suggest that science literacy and general interest in Mars geology and astrobiology topics increased after participation in the MFE curriculum. Students also used newly developed skills to create a Mars mission team presentation. The MFE curriculum, learning modules, and resources are available online at http://serc.carleton.edu/marsforearthlings/index.html. Key Words: Mars—Geology—Planetary science—Astrobiology—NASA education. Astrobiology 14, 42–49. PMID:24359289

  16. Observations of Crew Dynamics during Mars Analog Simulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cusack, Stacy L.

    2010-01-01

    This presentation reviews the crew dynamics during two simulations of Mars Missions. Using an analog of a Mars habitat in two locations, Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) which is located on Devon Island at 75 deg North in the Canadian Arctic, and the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) which is located in the south of Utah, the presentation examines the crew dynamics in relation to the leadership style of the commander of the mission. The difference in the interaction of the two crews were shown to be related to the leadership style and the age group in the crew. As much as possible the habitats and environment was to resemble a Mars outpost. The difference between the International Space Station and a Mars missions is reviewed. The leadership styles are reviewed and the contrast between the FMARS and the MDRS leadership styles were related to crew productivity, and the personal interactions between the crew members. It became evident that leadership styles and interpersonal skill had more affect on mission success and crew dynamics than other characteristics.

  17. Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities for Mauna Kea 2012

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, L. D.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T. G.; Yingst, R. A.; ten Kate, I. L.; Glavin, D. P.; Hedlund, M.; Malespin, C. A.; Mumm, E.

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Initial science operations were planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred as the analog mission progressed. We report here on the preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering and science trades and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as “ Apollo Valley.”

  18. Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities for Mauna Kea 2012

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Lee D.; Morris, Richard V.; Graff, Trevor G.; Yingst, R. Aileen; tenKate, I. L.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Hedlund, Magnus; Malespin, Charles A.; Mumm, Erik

    2012-01-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Initial science operations were planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred as the analog mission progressed. We report here on the preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering and science trades discussions and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as "Apollo Valley".

  19. The Licancabur Project: Exploring the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; McKay, C. P.; Friedmann, I.; Diaz, G. Chong; Demergasso, C.; Kisse, K.; Grigorszky, I.; Ocampo Friedmann, R.; Hock, A.; Fike, D. A.; Tambley, C.; Escudero, L.; Murbach, M. S.; Devore, E.; Grigsby, B. H.

    2003-03-01

    Our poster presents the Licancabur project overall objectives and summarizes the results of the first expedition to the highest lake on Earth that took place in 2002. It also describes the direction and developments of this project in the coming years as a unique terrestrial analog to Mars.

  20. Comparing Accretion Histories of Earth, Mars, and Theia Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaib, Nathan A.; Cowan, Nicolas B.

    2015-01-01

    The canonical scenario for the formation of the Moon predicts that a Mars-mass impactor collided with the proto-Earth in a glancing collision that threw material into orbit around the Earth. However, such a scenario results in a Moon largely composed of material from the impactor rather than the proto-Earth. Since meteorites from Mars and the asteroid belt have markedly different oxygen isotope abundance ratios than Earth, this Moon origin scenario appears at odds with the nearly identical oxygen isotope signatures of lunar and terrestrial rocks. Here we test the possibility that the proto-Earth and Theia (the lunar impactor) had similar enough accretion histories before their collision to yield a moon with nearly identical oxygen isotope abundances to the Earth. To do this, we perform many numerical models of the final giant impact phase of terrestrial planet formation. In these models, we impose primordial distributions of oxygen isotopes that are tuned to yield final Δ17O differences between fully formed Earth and Mars analogs that match the observed differences between the two planets. Regardless of the assumed form for the inital Δ17O distribution among planetesimals, we find a probability of ~5% or less that a Theia analog will have an identical oxygen isotope composition to an Earth analog in any given simulated system.

  1. Basaltic Ring Structures as an Analog for Ring Features in Athabasca Valles, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaeger, W. L.; Keszthelyi, L. P.; Burr, D. M.; Emery, J. P.; Baker, V. R.; McEwen, A. S.; Miyamoto, H.

    2005-01-01

    Basaltic ring structures (BRSs) are enigmatic, quasi-circular landforms in eastern Washington State that were first recognized in 1965. They remained a subject of geologic scrutiny through the 1970 s and subsequently faded from the spotlight, but recent Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images showing morphologically similar structures in Athabasca Valles, Mars, have sparked renewed interest in BRSs. The only known BRSs occur in the Channeled Scabland, a region where catastrophic Pleistocene floods from glacial Lake Missoula eroded into the Miocene flood basalts of the Columbia Plateau. The geologic setting of the martian ring structures (MRSs) is similar; Athabasca Valles is a young channel system that formed when catastrophic aqueous floods carved into a volcanic substrate. This study investigates the formation of terrestrial BRSs and examines the extent to which they are appropriate analogs for the MRSs in Athabasca Valles.

  2. Comparing Accretion Histories of Earth, Mars, and Theia Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaib, Nathan A.; Cowan, Nick

    2014-11-01

    The canonical scenario for the formation of the Moon predicts that a Mars-mass impactor collided with the proto-Earth in a glancing collision that threw material into orbit around the Earth. However, such a scenario results in a Moon largely composed of material from the impactor rather than the proto-Earth. Since meteorites from Mars and the asteroid belt have markedly different oxygen isotope abundance ratios than Earth, this Moon origin scenario appears at odds with the nearly identical oxygen isotope signatures of lunar and terrestrial rocks. Here we test the possibility that the proto-Earth and Theia (the lunar impactor) had similar enough accretion histories before their collision to yield a moon with nearly identical oxygen isotope abundances to the Earth. To do this, we perform many numerical models of the final giant impact phase of terrestrial planet formation. In these models, we impose primordial distributions of oxygen isotopes that are tuned to yield final Δ17O differences between fully formed Earth and Mars analogs that match the observed differences between the two planets. Using these distributions, we can then build a hypothetical distribution of Δ17O values for Theia analogs that can be used to assess the probability that Theia had a similar accretion feeding zone to the Earth.

  3. Observations of Crew Dynamics During Mars Analog Simulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cusack, Stacy L.

    2009-01-01

    Crewmembers on Mars missions will face new and unique challenges compared to those in close communications proximity to Mission Control centers. Crews on Mars will likely become more autonomous and responsible for their day-to-day planning. These explorers will need to make frequent real time decisions without the assistance of large ground support teams. Ground-centric control will no longer be an option due to the communications delays. As a result of the new decision making model, crew dynamics and leadership styles of future astronauts may become significantly different from the demands of today. As a volunteer for the Mars Society on two Mars analog missions, this presenter will discuss observations made during isolated, surface exploration simulations. The need for careful crew selections, not just based on individual skill sets, but on overall team interactions becomes apparent very quickly when the crew is planning their own days and deciding their own priorities. Even more important is the selection of a Mission Commander who can lead a team of highly skilled individuals with strong and varied opinions in a way that promotes crew consensus, maintains fairness, and prevents unnecessary crew fatigue.

  4. Infrared optical properties of Mars soil analog materials: Palagonites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roush, Ted L.

    1992-01-01

    The globally distributed bright soils on Mars represent products of chemical alteration of primary igneous materials. As such, understanding the chemistry and mineralogy of these soils provides clues about the nature of the parent materials and the type, duration, and extent of the chemical weathering environments on Mars. Such clues are key in developing an understanding of the interior and surficial processes that have operated throughout Mars' history to yield the surface as it is currently observed. The generally homogeneous nature of these soils is illustrated by a variety of observational data. These data include (1) direct determination of elemental abundances by the X-ray fluorescence instruments on both Viking Landers, (2) Earth-based telescopic observations, and (3) space-based observations. Based on their spectral properties in the visible and near-infrared, terrestrial palagonitic soils have been suggested as analogs for the bright regions on Mars. Palagonites represent the weathering products of basaltic glass and as such are composed of a variety of minerals/materials. In order to gain an understanding regarding the chemical, mineralogical, and spectral properties of a broad suite of palagonites, several samples were collected from the eastern and central regions of the island of Hawaii.

  5. Telepresence in the human exploration of Mars: Field studies in analog environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol R.

    1993-01-01

    This paper describes the role of telepresence in performing exploration of Mars. As part of an effort to develop telepresence to support Mars exploration, NASA is developing telepresence technology and using it to perform exploration in space analog environments. This paper describes experiments to demonstrate telepresence control of an underwater remotely operated vehicle (TROV) to perform scientific field work in isolated and hostile environments. Toward this end, we have developed a telepresence control system and interfaced it to an underwater remotely operated vehicle. This vehicle was used during 1992 to study aquatic ecosystems in Antarctica including a study of the physical and biological environment of permanently ice-covered lake. We also performed a preliminary analysis of the potential for using the TROV to study the benthic ecology under the sea ice in McMurdo sound. These expeditions are opening up new areas of research by using telepresence control of remote vehicles to explore isolated and extreme environments on Earth while also providing an impetus to develop technology which will play a major role in the human exploration of Mars. Antarctic field operations, in particular, provide an excellent analog experience for telepresence operation in space.

  6. Mars weathering analogs - Secondary mineralization in Antarctic basalts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkley, J. L.

    1982-01-01

    Alkalic basalt samples from Ross Island, Antarctica, are evaluated as terrestrial analogs to weathered surface materials on Mars. Secondary alteration in the rocks is limited to pneumatolytic oxidation of igneous minerals and glass, rare groundmass clay and zeolite mineralization, and hydrothermal minerals coating fractures and vesicle surfaces. Hydrothermal mineral assemblages consist mainly of K-feldspar, zeolites (phillipsite and chabazite), calcite, and anhydrite. Low alteration rates are attributed to cold and dry environmental factors common to both Antarctica and Mars. It is noted that mechanical weathering (aeolian abrasion) of Martian equivalents to present Antarctic basalts would yield minor hydrothermal minerals and local surface fines composed of primary igneous minerals and glass but would produce few hydrous products, such as palagonite, clay or micas. It is thought that leaching of hydrothermal vein minerals by migrating fluids and redeposition in duricrust deposits may represent an alternate process for incorporating secondary minerals of volcanic origin into Martian surface fines.

  7. Extreme environments as Mars terrestrial analogs: The Rio Tinto case

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amils, Ricardo; González-Toril, Elena; Fernández-Remolar, David; Gómez, Felipe; Aguilera, Ángeles; Rodríguez, Nuria; Malki, Mustafá; García-Moyano, Antonio; Fairén, Alberto G.; de la Fuente, Vicenta; Luis Sanz, José

    2007-02-01

    The geomicrobiological characterization of the Río Tinto (Iberian Pyritic Belt) has recently proven the importance of the iron cycle, not only in the generation of the extreme conditions of the habitat (low pH, high concentration of heavy metals), but also in the maintenance of a high level of microbial diversity. The presence of vast deposits of sulfates and iron oxides on Mars, the main products of the bioleaching of iron containing sulfides found in Río Tinto, and the physico-chemical properties of iron as a source of energy, protection from radiation and oxidative stress as well as pH control, make Río Tinto an interesting Mars terrestrial analog.

  8. Mars extant-life campaign using an approach based on Earth-analog habitats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palkovic, Lawrence A.; Wilson, Thomas J.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Robotic Outpost group at JPL has identified sixteen potential momentous discoveries that if found on Mars would alter planning for the future Mars exploration program. This paper details one possible approach to the discovery of and response to the 'momentous discovery'' of extant life on Mars. The approach detailed in this paper, the Mars Extant-Life (MEL) campaign, is a comprehensive and flexible program to find living organisms on Mars by studying Earth-analog habitats of extremophile communities.

  9. Principles for Integrating Mars Analog Science, Operations, and Technology Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clancey, William J.

    2003-01-01

    During the Apollo program, the scientific community and NASA used terrestrial analog sites for understanding planetary features and for training astronauts to be scientists. Human factors studies (Harrison, Clearwater, & McKay 1991; Stuster 1996) have focused on the effects of isolation in extreme environments. More recently, with the advent of wireless computing, we have prototyped advanced EVA technologies for navigation, scheduling, and science data logging (Clancey 2002b; Clancey et al., in press). Combining these interests in a single expedition enables tremendous synergy and authenticity, as pioneered by Pascal Lee's Haughton-Mars Project (Lee 2001; Clancey 2000a) and the Mars Society s research stations on a crater rim on Devon Island in the High Canadian Arctic (Clancey 2000b; 2001b) and the Morrison Formation of southeast Utah (Clancey 2002a). Based on this experience, the following principles are proposed for conducting an integrated science, operations, and technology research program at analog sites: 1) Authentic work; 2) PI-based projects; 3) Unencumbered baseline studies; 4) Closed simulations; and 5) Observation and documentation. Following these principles, we have been integrating field science, operations research, and technology development at analog sites on Devon Island and in Utah over the past five years. Analytic methods include work practice simulation (Clancey 2002c; Sierhuis et a]., 2000a;b), by which the interaction of human behavior, facilities, geography, tools, and procedures are formalized in computer models. These models are then converted into the runtime EVA system we call mobile agents (Clancey 2002b; Clancey et al., in press). Furthermore, we have found that the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (Jones, 1999) provides a vast repository or understanding astronaut and CapCom interactions, serving as a baseline for Mars operations and quickly highlighting opportunities for computer automation (Clancey, in press).

  10. Spectral analysis of chemisorbed CO2 on Mars analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Roush, T. L.

    1993-01-01

    The goal of this work is to estimate the mass of CO2 that may have been removed to a quasi-stable reservoir on the Martian surface by chemisorption and to estimate the spectral effects of chemisorbed CO2 in remotely-sensed Martian spectra. Our approach is to characterize the conditions most favorable for the formation of carbonate on common terrestrial oxide minerals and to search for infrared spectral bands that result from chemisorption of CO2 molecules onto oxide and other Mars analog materials.

  11. delta C-13 Analysis of Mars Analog Carbonates Using Evolved Gas Cavity - Ringdown Spectrometry on the 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, J. C.; McAdam, A. C.; ten Kate, I. L.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Steele, A.; Amundson, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two distinct geologic settings on Svalbard, using instrumentation and techniques in development for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return (MSR). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite, which will fly on MSL, was developed at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), together with several partners. SAM consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph CGC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which all analyze gases created by evolved gas analysis (EGA). The two sites studied represent "biotic" and "abiotic" analogs; the "biotic" site being the Knorringfjell fossil methane seep, and the "abiotic" site being the basaltic Sigurdfjell vent complex. The data presented here represent experiments to measure the carbon isotopic composition of carbonates from these two analogs using evolved gas analysis coupled with a commercial cavity ringdown CO2 isotopic analyzer (Picarro) as a proxy for the TLS on SAM.

  12. Biogeochemical Heterogeneity in Mars Analog Soils from the Atacama Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Claire, M.; Shirey, B.; Brown, M.; Anderson, D.; Van Mourik, M.

    2014-12-01

    Water is ubiquitous on Earth and plays a fundamental role in all aspects of biogeochemical cycling. Our existence on an aqua planet hampers our ability to interpret a planet like Mars where it may not have rained for a billion years. Soils from the hyperarid core of Chile's Atacama Desert may represent the closest geochemical analog to Martian soils, as this region has the lowest precipitation on Earth. The extreme lack of rainfall (a few mm per decade) limits both weathering and biological activity to the point where soils are effectively sterile. Oxidized end products of atmospheric chemistry such as nitrate and perchlorate build up to values approaching those measured on Mars by NASA's Phoenix Lander. In June 2012, we collected soil samples from 8 locations along an aridity gradient from the hyperarid core of the Atacama (rainfall < 1 mm/yr) towards the arid (5-100 mm/yr) surrounding areas where microbial community activity is sufficient to support the hardiest of desert plant species. Field observations indicate that microbial activity and geochemical heterogeneity are anti-correlated. We will present our quantitative results coupling geochemical heterogeneity (salt concentrations, org C/N, trace metals) and microbial community activity (TRFLP, nitrogen cycling) along this transect, and argue that geochemical heterogeneity (which could be measured by a rover or lander on Mars) may be a proxy for lifeless soils.

  13. Mars-Relevant Environmental Conditions at the Lakes of Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hock, A. N.; Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Kovacs, G. T; Rothschild, L. J.; Parazynski, S. E.; Prufert-Bebout, L.

    2005-12-01

    In the Bolivian Altiplano, a number of environmental variables combine to produce some of the most exotic and poorly understood lacustrine environments on Earth. In a cold, arid environment with extreme ultraviolet flux, these lakes provide a habitat for biology and a proxy for the study of potentially analogous martian environments. Here, we present new data on the physical, chemical environment of three such lakes at Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia and explore the quantitative basis for an analogy to Mars. Licancabur (22°50`'S, 67°53`'W) is a large, dormant volcano on the western edge of the Bolivian Altiplano at the border with Chile. Two hypersaline lakes, Laguna Blanca and Laguna Verde, are located at the volcano`'s 4300 m base. Within the past thirty years, these two were connected as a single reservoir, but local climate-driven evaporation (precipitation <100 mm/y, evaporation >1000 mm/y) has resulted in two topographically and chemically distinct bodies connected by a small stream. At nearly 6000 m, the small crater lake of Licancabur is one of the highest known and least explored on Earth. While sub-freezing average air temperature and extreme ultraviolet flux create an environment similar to the surface of Mars, the lake harbors a small biological community and is ice-covered only part of the year.

  14. Gamma-Ray Sterilization of Mars Analog Rocks and Minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, C. C.

    1998-01-01

    Samples of rock and soil, collected by robotic spacecraft on Mars, will be returned to terrestrial laboratories early in the next century. Plans call for the samples to be placed immediately in biological containment and tested for signs of present or past life and biological hazard. It is recommended that "controlled distribution of unsterilized materials from Mars should occur only if rigorous analyses determine that the materials do not constitute a biological hazard. If any portion of the sample is removed from containment prior to completion of these analyses it should first be sterilized." While sterilization of Mars samples may not be required, an acceptable method must be available before the samples are returned to Earth. Various techniques are routinely used to sterilize biological samples. These include dry heating to temperatures of 150C or higher, heating in the presence of steam, exposure to poisonous gases such as formaldehyde and propiolactone, exposure to H2O2 vapor or plasma, exposure to ultraviolet light, and exposure to gamma radiation. The appropriate technique depends on the physical characteristics of the sample and the desired results. Gamma radiation is routinely used to inactivate viruses and destroy bacteria in medical research. The most commercial sterilizers use Cobalt 60, which emits gamma photons with energies of 1. 173 and 1. 332 MeV. Absorbed doses of approximately 106 rad (104 gamma ray is equal to 104 ergs/gm) are sufficient to destroy most bacteria. The current study is designed to investigate the effects of lethal doses of Cobalt 60 gamma radiation on geologic materials analogous to the first samples to be returned from Mars. The goals are (1) to determine the gamma ray dose required to kill microorganisms within geologic samples, and (2) to determine the effects of lethal doses of gamma radiation on the physical and chemical properties of the samples.

  15. Declining Lake Habitats in the Andes: Implications for Early Mars, Life, and Exploration (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; High Lakes Project Team

    2010-12-01

    The environment of the Andes presents analogies with Mars when the planet was transitioning from a wetter to a drier, colder climate: thin atmosphere, high solar irradiance, depleted ozone, high temperature fluctuations with low averages, ice, low precipitation and RH, and volcanic activity. This region is also among three areas of the world most impacted by climate change, which results in enhanced evaporation and high negative water balance that modifies lake habitat rapidly. Data shows strong interannual fluctuations in precipitation, water balance, major ion concentration, and pH are well marked. Microorganisms dwelling near the surface are exposed to a UV flux 170% that of sea level, and exceptionally high UVB levels. The thin cold atmosphere generates sudden and significant inverse relationship between UV and temperatures. In this cold, unstable environment lake habitats host abundant life. In addition to adaptation strategies, the timing of key cycles appears to be a critical factor in life’ survival. Environmental analogy with early Mars is multifold. Aridification has resulted in an evaporative environment. Latitude and altitude generate a UV-flux double that of present-day Mars at the equator and UVB only half that of the red planet, low average total ozone, and a low atmospheric pressure. Yearly temperature extremes range from -40C to +9C. Lakes are ice-covered starting austral fall, reaching maximum thickness by mid-winter. Thawing occurs in spring, but negative night temperatures result in the formation of a thin film of ice that thaws by mid-morning in spring and summer. Because of their geophysical environment, rapid climate change, isolation, and mostly uncharted ecosystems, these lakes are representative of an end-member class of terrestrial lakes and are meaningful analogs to early martian lakes. With differences inherent to the study of terrestrial analogs, the overall environmental similarity of Andean lakes with Mars at the Noachian

  16. Curvilinear Ground on Mars: the Search for Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rossbacher, L. A.

    1984-01-01

    Curvilinear features on Mars have dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 18.6 km in length and 0.2 to 2.0 km in width; these landforms can occur as curving ridges and troughs, rimless arcuate depressions, or features with no apparent relief. The Martian curvilinear ground has a relatively consistent relationship to both regional and local geomorphology. These landforms are one of a suite of features that occur near the base of the regional slope that marks the transition from the cratered uplands to the northern plains. Based on morphologic similarities, numerous terrestrial analogs were proposed for these Martian features. These include gilgai, backwasting scarps, solifluction lobes, ice-cored ridges and glacial moraines. Process models for the origin of the curvilinear ground suggest that its formation probably involved several processes, including scarp retreat by backwasting.

  17. A Martian analog in Kansas: Comparing Martian strata with Permian acid saline lake deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benison, Kathleen C.

    2006-05-01

    An important result of the Mars Exploration Rover's (MER) mission has been the images of sedimentary structures and diagenetic features in the Burns Formation at Meridiani Planum. Bedding, cross-bedding, ripple marks, mud cracks, displacive evaporite crystal molds, and hematite concretions are contained in these Martian strata. Together, these features are evidence of past saline groundwater and ephemeral shallow surface waters on Mars. Geochemical analyses of these Martian outcrops have established the presence of sulfates, iron oxides, and jarosite, which strongly suggests that these waters were also acidic. The same assemblage of sedimentary structures and diagenetic features is found in the salt-bearing terrestrial red sandstones and shales of the middle Permian (ca. 270 Ma) Nippewalla Group of Kansas, which were deposited in and around acid saline ephemeral lakes. These striking sedimentological and mineralogical similarities make these Permian red beds and evaporites the best-known terrestrial analog for the Martian sedimentary rocks at Meridiani Planum.

  18. Aqueous Alteration of Mars-Analog Rocks Under an Acidic Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bullock, M. A.; Moore, J. M.; Mellon, M. T.

    2001-01-01

    The wind-blown fines of Mars have high amounts of salts that are easily mobilized by water. We report on laboratory experiments that produce brines from the interaction of water with Mars-analog rocks and a simulated acidic Mars paleoatmosphere. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  19. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs" included the following:Physical Meaning of the Hapke Parameter for Macroscopic Roughness: Experimental Determination for Planetary Regolith Surface Analogs and Numerical Approach; Near-Infrared Spectra of Martian Pyroxene Separates: First Results from Mars Spectroscopy Consortium; Anomalous Spectra of High-Ca Pyroxenes: Correlation Between Ir and M ssbauer Patterns; THEMIS-IR Emissivity Spectrum of a Large Dark Streak near Olympus Mons; Geomorphologic/Thermophysical Mapping of the Athabasca Region, Mars, Using THEMIS Infrared Imaging; Mars Thermal Inertia from THEMIS Data; Multispectral Analysis Methods for Mapping Aqueous Mineral Depostis in Proposed Paleolake Basins on Mars Using THEMIS Data; Joint Analysis of Mars Odyssey THEMIS Visible and Infrared Images: A Magic Airbrush for Qualitative and Quantitative Morphology; Analysis of Mars Thermal Emission Spectrometer Data Using Large Mineral Reference Libraries ; Negative Abundance : A Problem in Compositional Modeling of Hyperspectral Images; Mars-LAB: First Remote Sensing Data of Mineralogy Exposed at Small Mars-Analog Craters, Nevada Test Site; A Tool for the 2003 Rover Mini-TES: Downwelling Radiance Compensation Using Integrated Line-Sight Sky Measurements; Learning About Mars Geology Using Thermal Infrared Spectral Imaging: Orbiter and Rover Perspectives; Classifying Terrestrial Volcanic Alteration Processes and Defining Alteration Processes they Represent on Mars; Cemented Volcanic Soils, Martian Spectra and Implications for the Martian Climate; Palagonitic Mars: A Basalt Centric View of Surface Composition and Aqueous Alteration; Combining a Non Linear Unmixing Model and the Tetracorder Algorithm: Application to the ISM Dataset; Spectral Reflectance Properties of Some Basaltic Weathering Products; Morphometric LIDAR Analysis of Amboy Crater, California: Application to MOLA Analysis of Analog Features on Mars; Airborne Radar Study of Soil Moisture at

  20. The Licancabur Project: Exploring the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; McKay, C. P.; Friedmann, I.; Diaz, G. Chong; Demergasso, C.; Kisse, K.; Grigorszky, I.; Friedmann, R. Ocampo; Hock, A.

    2003-01-01

    The Licancabur volcano (6017 m) hosts the highest and one of the least explored lakes in the world in its summit crater. It is located 22 deg.50 min. South / 67 deg.53 min. West at the boundary of Chile and Bolivia in the High-Andes. In a freezing environment, the lake located in volcano-tectonic environment combines low-oxygen, low atmospheric pressure due to altitude, and high-UV radiation (see table). However, its bottom water temperature remains above 0 C year-round. These conditions make Licancabur a unique analog to Martian paleolakes considered high-priority sites for the search for life on Mars.

  1. SAM-like Evolved Gas Analysis of Mars Analog Samples from the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Analyses by the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McAdam, A.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Bristow, T.; Steele, A.; Amundsen, H.

    2012-12-01

    The Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expeditions (AMASE) have investigated a range of geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques being developed for Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-QMS) system represented the EGA-QMS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. Here we discuss the SAM-like EGA-QMS analyses of a selected subset of samples acquired during several field seasons, together with AMASE CheMin team results. The results enable insight into organic content, organic-mineral associations, and mineralogy. Organic materials evolved from all samples over a range of temperatures. In general, this can indicate that the organics have a range of thermal maturity and/or are bound in different ways to their matrix. Most often, organics that were outside of mineral grains were the dominant pool of organic material inferable from the EGA-QMS, but organics encapsulated within mineral grains, including possibly methane, were also inferred. Organic-mineral associations can influence organic preservation potential and detection. Constraints on these associations, and overall sample organic chemistry, enabled by our SAM-like EGA-QMS analog analyses demonstrate the potential to understand the organic chemical characteristics in materials sampled by MSL, even when utilizing EGA-QMS, the simplest type of solid sample experiment SAM will perform. Any organic chemical information inferred from EGA-QMS analysis could then also be followed by detailed SAM EGA

  2. Microbial Analysis of Australian Dry Lake Cores; Analogs For Biogeochemical Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, A. V.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomson, B. J.

    2014-12-01

    Lake Gilmore in Western Australia is an acidic ephemeral lake that is analogous to Martian geochemical processes represented by interbedded phyllosilicates and sulfates. These areas demonstrate remnants of a global-scale change on Mars during the late Noachian era from a neutral to alkaline pH to relatively lower pH in the Hesperian era that continues to persist today. The geochemistry of these areas could possibly be caused by small-scale changes such as microbial metabolism. Two approaches were used to determine the presence of microbes in the Australian dry lake cores: DNA analysis and lipid analysis. Detecting DNA or lipids in the cores will provide evidence of living or deceased organisms since they provide distinct markers for life. Basic DNA analysis consists of extraction, amplification through PCR, plasmid cloning, and DNA sequencing. Once the sequence of unknown DNA is known, an online program, BLAST, will be used to identify the microbes for further analysis. The lipid analysis approach consists of phospholipid fatty acid analysis that is done by Microbial ID, which will provide direct identification any microbes from the presence of lipids. Identified microbes are then compared to mineralogy results from the x-ray diffraction of the core samples to determine if the types of metabolic reactions are consistent with the variation in composition in these analog deposits. If so, it provides intriguing implications for the presence of life in similar Martian deposits.

  3. Basalt weathering in an Arctic Mars-analog site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yesavage, Tiffany; Thompson, Aaron; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Brantley, Susan L.

    2015-07-01

    possible that cyclic adsorption of water onto basaltic rocks in this dry climate may result in high physical spalling rates that in turn promote chemical leaching. Many observations at Sverrefjell are similar to inferences from Mars: the presence of SRO phases, Si-rich coatings, and/or Si-rich allophane, as well as the persistence of olivine. Given these similarities, it is inferred that Sverrefjell volcano is a good analog for martian weathering and that other processes operating at Sverrefjell may also have occurred on Mars, including Na leaching, surface spalling, and precipitation of Si-rich layers. Such processes could have occurred on Mars wherever basalts were exposed to water at circumneutral pH for thousands to tens of thousands of years.

  4. Evolved Gas Analysis of Mars Analog Samples from the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Analyses by the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffey, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T.; Steele, A.; Amundsen, H. E. F.

    2012-01-01

    The 2011 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated several geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) system represented the EGA-QMS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. AMASE 2011 sites spanned a range of environments relevant to understanding martian surface materials, processes and habitability. They included the basaltic Sverrefjell volcano, which hosts carbonate globules, cements and coatings, carbonate and sulfate units at Colletth0gda, Devonian sandstone redbeds in Bockfjorden, altered basaltic lava delta deposits at Mt. Scott Keltie, and altered dolerites and volcanics at Botniahalvoya. Here we focus on SAM-like EGA-MS of a subset of the samples, with mineralogy comparisons to CheMin team results. The results allow insight into sample organic content as well as some constraints on sample mineralogy.

  5. Echo Source Discrimination in Airborne Radar Sounding Data for Mars Analog Studies, Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holt, J. W.; Blankenship, D. D.; Peters, M. E.; Kempf, S. D.; Morse, D. L.; Williams, B. J.

    2003-01-01

    The recent identification of features on Mars exhibiting morphologies consistent with ice/rock mixtures, near-surface ice bodies and near-surface liquid water [1,2], and the importance of such features to the search for water on Mars, highlights the need for appropriate terrestrial analogs in order to prepare for upcoming radar missions targeting these and other water-related features. Climatic, hydrological, and geological conditions in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are analogous in many ways to those on Mars, and a number of ice-related features in the Dry Valleys may have direct morphologic and compositional counterparts on Mars.

  6. The Corfu landslide: Analog to giant landslides on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, S. W.; Baker, V. R.

    1984-04-01

    In an analog to the great landslides of the Vales Marineris, Mars, a detailed study was made of the Corfu Landslide in south-central Washington. This prehistoric slide is located on the northern flank of the Saddle Mountains, southwest of Othello, Washington. The slide covers a 13 square km area centered on section 11 of T.15N., R.27E., Willamette Meridian, adjacent to the Corfu townsite. Approximately 1 cubic km of material is involved in sliding that was probably initiated by Missoula flooding through the Channeled Scabland. It is concluded that there were four primary factors involved in the initiation of the Corfu landsliding: (1) A slip surface was present at the right orientation; (2) Glacial flooding undercut the slope; (3) Wetter climatic conditions prevailed during that time period; and (4) Some seismic vibrations, known to occur locally, probably acted as a trigger. These factors show that special conditions were required in conjunction to produce landsliding. Studies in progress of the Vales Marieneris suggest that the same factors probably contributed to landsliding there.

  7. The Corfu Landslide: Analog to Giant Landslides on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, S. W.; Baker, V. R.

    1984-01-01

    In an analog to the great landslides of the Vales Marineris, Mars, a detailed study was made of the Corfu Landslide in south-central Washington. This prehistoric slide is located on the northern flank of the Saddle Mountains, southwest of Othello, Washington. The slide covers a 13 square km area centered on section 11 of T.15N., R.27E., Willamette Meridian, adjacent to the Corfu townsite. Approximately 1 cubic km of material is involved in sliding that was probably initiated by Missoula flooding through the Channeled Scabland. It is concluded that there were four primary factors involved in the initiation of the Corfu landsliding: (1) A slip surface was present at the right orientation; (2) Glacial flooding undercut the slope; (3) Wetter climatic conditions prevailed during that time period; and (4) Some seismic vibrations, known to occur locally, probably acted as a trigger. These factors show that special conditions were required in conjunction to produce landsliding. Studies in progress of the Vales Marieneris suggest that the same factors probably contributed to landsliding there.

  8. Variations in Biosignature Preservation: Geochemical Analysis of Kerogen Comparing Two Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorber, K. N.; Czaja, A. D.; Lee, P.

    2016-05-01

    This work investigates kerogen from early Earth and impact crater environments, both of which can be viewed as an analog for those on Mars. The biosignatures presented here are geochemically preserved as microfossils or as amorphous kerogen.

  9. Monturaqui Crater (Atacama Desert, Chile) as a Mars Analog: Exploring the Impact Spherule Hypothesis for Meridiani

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piatek, J. L.; Ukstins Peate, I.; Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Chong, G.

    2010-03-01

    Monturaqui is a young terrestrial impact in the Atacama Desert. The impact affected volcanic rocks and created a vesicular impactite that contains iron oxide spherules, representing a potential analog for "blueberries" in Meridiani Planum, Mars.

  10. Characterization of Fungal Population During 30-Day Occupation in a Simulated Lunar/Mars Analog Habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blachowicz, A.; Mayer, T.; Swarmer, T. M.; De Leon, P.; Venkateswaran, K.

    2015-10-01

    The simulated Lunar/Mars Analog Habitat (LMAH) keeps its inhabitants in isolation from the outside environment what enabled to observe the changes in the fungal microbiome during human occupation. It is crucial since fungi might be hazardous.

  11. Combined VNIR and Raman spectroscopy of the Atacama salt flats as a potential Mars analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Flahaut, J.; Martinot, M.; Potts, N. J.; Davies, G.

    2015-12-01

    The identification and characterization of hydrated minerals within ancient aqueous environments on Mars are high priorities for determining the past habitability of the red planet. Few studies, however, have focused on characterizing the entire mineral assemblage, even though it could aide our understanding of past environments. In this study we use both spaceborne (Landsat, Hyperion) and field (VNIR + Raman spectroscopic) analyses to study the mineralogy of various salt flats (salars) of the northern region of Chile as an analog for Martian evaporites. Core and marginal zones within the salars are easily distinguished on the Landsat 8 band color composites. These areas host different mineralogic assemblages that often result in different landscape types (see Flahaut et al., EPSC 2015). The lower elevation Salar de Atacama, located in the Andean pre-depression, is characterized by a unique thick halite crust at its center, whereas various assemblages of calcium (gypsum, anhydrite) and sodium (mirabilite) sulfates and clays were found at its margin. Sulfates form the main crust of the Andean salars to the east, although various compositions are observed. These compositions seem to be controlled by the type of brine (Ca, SO4 or mixed). Sulfate crusts were found to be generally thin (<5 cm) with a sharp transition to the underlying clay, silt or sand-rich alluvial deposits. Used together, VNIR and Raman spectroscopy, plus morphologic analyses provided a powerful tool to distinguish among different types of salt crusts. Ongoing XRD analyses will quantify the mineral assemblages. We found that the Atacama's unique arid and volcanic environment, coupled with the transition recorded in some of the salars has a strong Mars analogue potential. Characterizing the outcrops at a variety of environments from alkaline, lake waters to more acidic salar brines and the mineralogy observed at these sites may facilitate constraining geochemical environments on Mars.

  12. Perennial Lakeshores as an Exploration Target for Microbial Remains on Mars Based on Earth Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blair, T. C.

    2013-12-01

    Exploring for evidence of present or past life is a key part of the NASA Mars program. Satellite data show the existence on the Martian surface of several types of potentially habitable settings for past microbial life if it existed, including remnants of former environments still in morphologic context. Of these environments, lakeshores are a prime target for future rover missions because they manifest a past critical interface between atmosphere, sunlit water, and a solid substrate. Case studies were made of possible analog remnants from now desiccated late Pleistocene perennial lakes of the western Basin and Range province, USA, to better understand microbial remains in this setting. These case studies show that the best preserved and most concentrated records of fossil microbial life developed in the upper photic zone of former shorezones where: 1) coeval clastic sedimentation was low; 2) a solid substrate such as coarse clasts or bedrock was present for colonization; 3) lake level was relatively stable for at least a few thousand years; and 4) chemical conditions promoted some mineral precipitation, such as of calcite. Although not a prerequisite, microbial accumulations also are common in the studied Pleistocene lakes where effluent from piedmont groundwater mixed with chemically different lake water either diffusely in the beachface or at springs in the shoreface. Martian river deltas with discernible multi-sequence deposits are a good indicator of past stable levels in associated lakes because such deltaic intervals record a sustained history. An example is the Eberswalde delta. River discharge delivered sediment to build the deltas and concurrently added water to maintain the lakes. A distinction between river deltas and alluvial fans or fan deltas is necessary to identify these targets, and this can easily be achieved using Earth case studies. An appreciation that river deltas are not reclassified as alluvial fans simply because they were abandoned also

  13. Stable carbon isotope fractionation by methanogens growing on different Mars regolith analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinha, Navita; Kral, Timothy A.

    2015-07-01

    In order to characterize stable carbon (13C/12C) isotope fractionation of metabolically produced methane by methanogens in martian settings, Methanothermobacter wolfeii, Methanosarcina barkeri, and Methanobacterium formicicum were cultured on four different Mars regolith analogs - JSC Mars-1, Artificial Mars Simulant, montmorillonite, and Mojave Mars Simulant - and also in their growth supporting media. These chemoautotrophic methanogens utilize CO2 for their carbon source and H2 for their energy source. When compared to the carbon isotope signature of methane when grown on their respective growth media, M. wolfeii and M. barkeri demonstrated variability in carbon isotope fractionation values during methanogenesis on the Mars analogs, while M. formicicum showed subtle or negligible difference in carbon isotope fractionation values. Interestingly, M. wolfeii and M. barkeri have shown relatively consistent enriched values of 12C on montmorillonite, a kind of clay found on Mars, compared to other Mars regolith analogs. In general, M. barkeri showed large carbon isotope fractionation compared to M. wolfeii and M. formicicum during methanognesis on various kinds of analogs. Stable carbon isotope fractionation is one of the techniques used to infer different origins, environments, and pathways of methanogensis. The results obtained in this novel research can provide clues to determine ambiguous sources of methane on Mars.

  14. Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE): A Simulated Mars Drilling Mission to Search for Subsurface Life at the Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Lemke, L. G.; Mandell, H.; McKay, D.; George, J.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Amils, R.; Stevens, T.; Miller, D.

    2003-03-01

    MARTE is a Mars analog drilling experiment to search for subsurface life on Mars while also characterizing a sulfide-based subsurface biosphere. MARTE is among the first set of field experiments supported by the ASTEP program.

  15. General Education Engagement in Earth and Planetary Science through an Earth-Mars Analog Curriculum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Kahmann-Robinson, J. A.

    2012-12-01

    The successes of NASA rovers on Mars and new remote sensing imagery at unprecedented resolution can awaken students to the valuable application of Earth analogs to understand Mars processes and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. Mars For Earthlings (MFE) modules and curriculum are designed as general science content introducing a pedagogical approach of integrating Earth science principles and Mars imagery. The content can be easily imported into existing or new general education courses. MFE learning modules introduce students to Google Mars and JMARS software packages and encourage Mars imagery analysis to predict habitable environments on Mars drawing on our knowledge of extreme environments on Earth. "Mars Mission" projects help students develop teamwork and presentation skills. Topic-oriented module examples include: Remote Sensing Mars, Olympus Mons and Igneous Rocks, Surface Sculpting Forces, and Extremophiles. The learning modules package imagery, video, lab, and in-class activities for each topic and are available online for faculty to adapt or adopt in courses either individually or collectively. A piloted MFE course attracted a wide range of non-majors to non-degree seeking senior citizens. Measurable outcomes of the piloted MFE curriculum were: heightened enthusiasm for science, awareness of NASA programs, application of Earth science principles, and increased science literacy to help students develop opinions of current issues (e.g., astrobiology or related government-funded research). Earth and Mars analog examples can attract and engage future STEM students as the next generation of earth, planetary, and astrobiology scientists.

  16. Water Uptake By Mars Salt Analogs: An Investigation Of Stable Aqueous Solutions On Mars Using Raman Microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuding, D.; Gough, R. V.; Jorgensen, S. K.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    To understand the formation of briny aqueous solutions on Mars, a salt analog was developed to closely match the individual cation and anion concentrations as reported by the Wet Chemistry Laboratory aboard the Phoenix Lander. ';Instant Mars' is a salt analog developed to fully encompass the correct concentrations of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, perchlorate, chloride, and sulfate ions. Using environmental Raman microscopy, we have studied the water uptake by the Instant Mars analog as a function of temperature and relative humidity. Water uptake was monitored using Raman spectroscopy in combination with optical microscopy. A MicroJet droplet generator was used to generate 30 μm diameter particles that were deposited onto a quartz disc. The particles undergo visual transformations as the relative humidity (RH) is increased and the presence of water uptake is confirmed by Raman spectroscopy. At -30° C, water uptake begins at ~ 35% RH as humidity is increased. The water uptake is marked by the growth of a sulfate peak at 990 cm-1, an indicator that sulfate has undergone a phase transition into an aqueous state. As the RH continues to increase, the peak in the O-H region (~3500 cm-1) broadens as more liquid water accumulates in the particles. The Instant Mars particles achieve complete deliquescence at 68% RH, indicated both visually and with Raman spectroscopy. The gradual water uptake observed suggests that deliquescence of the Instant Mars particles is not an immediate process, but that it occurs in steps marked by the deliquescence of the individual salts. Perhaps of even more significance is the tendency for the Instant Mars particles to remain aqueous at low humidity as RH is decreased. Raman spectra indicate that liquid water is present as low as 2% RH at -30° C. Ongoing work will examine the phase of Instant Mars particles under simulated Martian surface and subsurface conditions to gain insight into the possibility for aqueous solutions on Mars

  17. Investigating the Impact of UV Radiation on High-Altitude Shallow Lake Habitats, Life Diversity, and Life Survival Strategies: Clues for Mars' Past Habitability Potential?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Hock, A.; Kiss, A.; Borics, G.; Kiss, K.; Acs, E.; Kovacs, G.; Chong, G.; Demergasso, C.; Sivila, R.; Ortega Casamayor, E.; Zambrana, J.; Liberman, M.; Sunagua Coro, M.; Escudero, L.; Tambley, C.; Gaete, V.; Morris, R. L.; Grigsby, B.; Fitzpatrick, R.; Hovde, G.

    2004-03-01

    We explore the effects of high UV radiation on life habitats and diversity in shallow lakes located ~6,000 m high in the Andes which present strong environmental analogies with martian paleolakes. Survival strategies may give clues to assess the habitability potential of early Mars.

  18. The Search for Subsurface Life on Mars: Results from the MARTE Analog Drill Experiment in Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Lemke, L. G.; Cannon, H.; Glass, B.; Dunagan, S.; Zavaleta, J.; Miller, D.; Gomez-Elvira, J.

    2006-03-01

    The Mars Analog Research and Technology (MARTE) experiment has developed an automated drilling system on a simulated Mars lander platform including drilling, sample handling, core analysis and down-hole instruments relevant to searching for life in the Martian subsurface.

  19. Biosignatures of Hypersaline Environments (Salt Crusts) an Analog for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, H. D.; Duncan, A. G.; Davilla, A. F.; McKay, C. P.

    2016-05-01

    Halophilic ecosystems are models for life in extreme environments including planetary surfaces such as Mars. Our research focuses on biosignatures in a salt crusts and the detection of these biomarkers by ground and orbital assests.

  20. Tírez lake as a terrestrial analog of Europa.

    PubMed

    Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga; Rodríguez, Nuria; Kargel, Jeffrey S; Kessler, Carola González; Amils, Ricardo; Remolar, David Fernández

    2003-01-01

    Tírez Lake (La Mancha, central Spain) is proposed as a terrestrial analogue of Europa's ocean. The proposal is based on the comparison of the hydrogeochemistry of Tírez Lake with the geochemical features of the alteration mineralogy of meteoritic precursors and with Galileo's Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer data on Europa's surface. To validate the astrobiological potential of Tírez Lake as an analog of Europa, different hydrogeochemical, mineral, and microbial analyses were performed. Experimental and theoretical modeling helped to understand the crystallization pathways that may occur in Europa's crust. Calculations about the oxidation state of the hypothetical Europan ocean were estimated to support the sulfate-rich neutral liquid model as the origin of Europa's observed hydrated minerals and to facilitate their comparison with Tírez's hydrogeochemistry. Hydrogeochemical and mineralogical analyses showed that Tírez waters corresponded to Mg-Na-SO(4)-Cl brines with epsomite, hexahydrite, and halite as end members. A preliminary microbial ecology characterization identified two different microbial domains: a photosynthetically sustained community represented by planktonic/benthonic forms and microbial mat communities, and a subsurficial anaerobic realm in which chemolithotrophy predominates. Fluorescence in situ hybridization has been used to characterize the prokaryotic diversity of the system. The subsurficial community seemed to be dominated by sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens. Frozen Tírez brines were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared techniques providing spectra similar to those reported previously using pure components and to the Galileo spectral data. Calorimetric measurements of Tírez brines showed pathways and phase metastability for magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride crystallization that may aid in understanding the processes involved in the formation of Europa's icy crust. The use of fluorescence hybridization techniques for

  1. Mars-Lab: First Remote Sensing Study of Mineralogy Exposed at Small Mars Analog Craters, Nevada Test Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirkland, L.; Herr, K.; Adams, P.; Keim, E.

    2004-12-01

    Near-surface explosive tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) in the Mojave desert created numerous craters that are unique Mars analog sites. Infrared remote sensing is a primary method used to identify minerals on Mars. Small craters expose near-surface composition, weathering processes, and layering. The MarsLab project is the first thermal infrared, remote sensing study of the mineralogy exposed by small terrestrial craters (25-400 m diameter). Small craters are important because they can partially stand-in for drilling, both for more sites than drilling alone can cover, and also when a drilling capability is not otherwise available (e.g., a small rover). On Mars, identification of the minerals on the crater interior wall and in ejecta would uncover currently unknown information on near-surface compositional variations and weathering processes. The Nevada Test Site is a restricted access test facility, managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, in the Mojave desert, approximately 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The Mojave desert has long been used for Mars analog studies due to the dry climate. The NTS is particularly valuable because limited public access preserved locations of interest relatively undisturbed. We chose craters in basalt and alluvium substrates. Data sets used include the airborne hyperspectral imager SEBASS (7.5-12.5 microns, 128 bands); Tonka (7.5-12.5 microns, 512 bands), which is the only field spectrometer that raster-scans thermal infrared images like the Mars rover MiniTES; and laboratory spectrometer data sets that cover the full spectral range measured by both the Mars and terrestrial analog instrumentation.

  2. Ground Ice in Iceland: Possible Analogs for Equatorial Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helgason, J.

    2000-08-01

    Ground ice preservation in nonglaciated regions on Earth is normally terminated annually outside permafrost terrains. In Iceland old ice has been found under at least three different conditions that may serve as potential Martian analogs or lead the way where to look for ground ice on Mars. Three reconnaissance cases of ancient ground ice in Iceland are briefly reported: (1) Basaltic Scoria/Ice (ice residence: >64 yr). The main event of the AD 1875 volcanic eruption in Askja was first observed on January 3rd that year. The spattering lava material agglutinated to form a one to two meter thick layer on snow that had fallen earlier that winter. In 1939 a roughly two meter thick compact snow was photographed under the solidified lava material from 1875. No intervening material is recorded between the ice and the overlying chilled lava material. Collapse structures where the ice has melted are commonly seen in the AD 1875 basalt lava flow. (2) Moraine/Ice (ice residence: >100 yr?). In the Grimsvotn joekulhlaup of October and November 1996 the meltwater erosion exposed buried ice banking up against the Sandgigur terminal moraines. The age of the Sandgigur is dated at about 2200 year BP. The moraine material on top of the ice was approximately four meters thick and the exposed ice wall was also about four meters high. The contact between ice and moraine was made up of fine grained material. The ice differs from normal glacier ice in being a mixture of sand and ice. A few large ice blocks of this kind were found on the sandur plain below in between the large ice blocks that broke off the Skeidardrjokull glacier suggesting a somewhat large source than observed the in situ exposure. While the age of this ice is unconfirmed it was found in situ on the upward side of the Sandgigur terminal moraine, that are located five kilometers south of the present ice margin. (3) Ash deposit/Ice (ice residence: >600 yr?). A less well documented case is that of the rhyolite ash deposit

  3. Sediment and Soil Profiles of Taylor and Wright Valleys, Antarctica, as Analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Englert, P. A.; Bishop, J. L.; Patel, S.; Koeberl, C.; Gibson, E. K.

    2013-12-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys are extremely cold and dry desert environments. They represent a unique analog for Martian surface development conditions. Chemistry and mineralogy of soils and sediments from Taylor and Wright Valleys were analyzed [1-4]. Samples from selected lakes, ponds and nearby surface areas were collected in 1979/1980, from sediments below Lake Hoare in 1994/95, and from lake surfaces in 2005/06. Surface samples are from Lakes Brownworth, Vanda and Fryxell; sediment cores from Lake Hoare, Don Juan and Don Quixote ponds. Systematic analysis by INAA, XRD, VNIR and mid-infrared spectroscopy, and other methods is underway for all samples. Classical major element weathering / pedogenesis ratiosand major element weathering indices are applied to ADV as well as MER and MSL rocks and soils. The Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) values were used to characterize weathering conditions in Antarctic soils of Barton Peninsula [5] and for sediment layers in Antarctic drill cores [6]. The CIAs of sediment layers in drill cores are largely explained by the CIAs of source materials and reflect little or isochemical weathering. At Barton Peninsula with a less arid environment than the ADVs, CIAs of soils generally exceed those of source rocks. In Figure 1, two of several ADV soil source rocks and three sets of ADV soil and sediment CIAs are compared to molar Al2O3/TiO2 ratios. ADV CIA data are clustered and, as expected, lower than those of Barton Penisula, indicating a lesser degree of weathering. Very low ADV soil CIAs indicate sulfur rich samples. Full geochemical analysis as proposed will provide good indicators of weathering where historical to contemporary alteration conditions are liquid water based. Investigating elemental relationships for analogs that can be applied to Mars elemental abundance data bases is therefore important to assist in evaluating the extent of water based alteration derived from indicators in the Martian surface. References: [1] Gibson

  4. Altered basaltic glass - A terrestrial analog to the soil of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, C. C.; Jercinovic, M.; Keil, K.; Gooding, J. L.

    1981-01-01

    In order to understand the nature of weathering processes and the formation of clay-like substances on Mars, analogous terrestrial processes and materials have been examined including sideromelane and palagonite. It is shown that palagonite is a good analog to the soil of Mars to the level of precision available from Viking and ground-based telescopic spectral measurements. Points of resemblance between the two materials include bulk chemical composition, particle size, reflectance spectra, and magnetic properties. A mechanism for the formation of Martian soil, based on a palagonite model, is proposed.

  5. A Comparison of the Soil Bioload of Mars Analog Sites Using a Novel Life Detection Instrument.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, H.; Powers, L. S.; McKay, C. P.; Lloyd, C.; Duncan, A.; Rich, S.

    2007-12-01

    In this presentation we compare the microbial bioload at Mars Analog Sites, such as the Moab, Mojave, and Atacama Deserts as well as high altitude volcanic environments. A novel technique using intrinsic fluorescence for life detection was implemented in-situ to quantify total soil biomass. Soil samples were collected to compare in-situ techniques with traditional microbial assays, such as culturing. The Mars Analog sites differ in soil bioload, but show similarities in microbial patchiness distribution. In addition to the microbial work we also describe the novel instrument used to detect and quantify the total soil bioload.

  6. Hydrothermal circulation at the world's highest lake? An environmental study of the Licancabur Volcano crater lake as a terrestrial analog to martian paleolakes.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hock, A. N.; Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Fike, D. A.; Paige, D. A.; 2002 Licancabur Expedition Team

    2003-04-01

    At approximately 6000 meters above sea level, the crater of Licancabur Volcano (22 50'S, 67 53'W) houses the highest lake in the world, yet remains largely unexplored. In particular, the physical environment of the lake--particularly its stability and any remaining geothermal activity--is not well understood. Using a model for the temperature of maximum density for freshwater as a function of pressure (Eklund), we calculated that the bottom water temperature of the summit lake should be approximately 4 C. However, Leach et al. measured the water temperature at depth to be 6 C. This discrepancy, as well as the observation that the lake remains liquid for much of the year despite sub freezing air temperatures, suggests that there may be a heat source supporting the lake's temperature and biological community. We present the results of two studies here: the goal of this work is to understand the role of geothermal fluid input to the summit lake in terms of energy balance, the physical constraints on endemic biology, and the analogy to ancient martian hydrothermal systems (e.g. volcanic lakes, crater lakes, hot springs, etc.). First, we present physical data from the lake in a new model of energy balance. In situ measurements of pH, temperature, and total dissolved solids suggest that the Licancabur summit lake is a ¨low-activity¨ (as per Pasternack and Varekamp) lake with a diffuse geothermal fluid input. Secondly, mass spectrometry and ion chromatography were used to study water samples taken from the summit lake, as well as two local lagunas and several geothermal springs at the base of the volcano. The case for a hydrothermal system in the summit lake is further strengthened here by preliminary ion chromatography results, which show elevated concentrations of sulfate and chloride with respect to local meteoric waters. Understanding the relationship between the physical environment and biotic community remains the mainstay for future work on this project in an

  7. Lakes on Early Mars: A Space-for-Time Substitution Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.

    2015-12-01

    Lakes were abundant and active on early Mars for 100s millions of years. As global climate change prevented liquid water from remaining stable at the surface, they left behind key evidence of their past existence and duration in the landscape morphology, mineralogy, composition, and topography. As significant markers of environmental change, they have become critical exploration targets for our understanding of Mars past habitability potential, and the preservation potential of their sediments make them high-priority candidate landing sites for the upcoming NASA and ESA rover missions that will search for evidence of biosignatures on early Mars. Identifying and caching the most valuable samples with these missions will require to both recognize these signatures, the geological and environmental processes that may have modified them through time, the spatiotemporal constraints these processes could have imposed on a biogeological record, and their significance for biosignatures and their preservation potential. To help us understand where, what, and how to search on Mars, the Chilean Atacama desert, Altiplano, and the High Andes have provided robust analog study sites over the past 20 years. Exposed to the strongest solar irradiance measured so far on our planet, from sea level up to 6,000 m elevation, and from glacial regions to some of the most arid conditions on Earth, these unique sites allow us to perform a space-for-time substitution experiments that shows the likely evolution of martian lake habitats over time from the early Noachian to the Hesperian. The observed changes provide critical clues about plausible scenarios for the evolution of habitability and life potential. They also give us pointers on how increased environmental extremes linked to a thinning unstable atmosphere, increasing UV, desiccation, and geological and climate changes, may have impacted biodiversity at local and global scale.

  8. Aseptically Sampled Organics in Subsurface Rocks From the Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment: An Analog For The Search for Deep Subsurface Life on Mars.}

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaccorsi, R.; Stoker, C. R.

    2005-12-01

    The subsurface is the key environment for searching for life on planets lacking surface life. Subsurface ecosystems are of great relevance to astrobiology including the search for past/present life on Mars. The surface of Mars has conditions preventing current life but the subsurface might preserve organics and even host some life [1]. The Mars-Analog-Rio-Tinto-Experiment (MARTE) is performing a simulation of a Mars drilling experiment. This comprises conventional and robotic drilling of cores in a volcanically-hosted-massive-pyrite deposit [2] from the Iberian Pyritic Belt (IBP) and life detection experiments applying anti-contamination protocols (e.g., ATP Luminometry assay). The RT is considered an important analog of the Sinus Meridiani site on Mars and an ideal model analog for a deep subsurface Martian environment. Former results from MARTE suggest the existence of a relatively complex subsurface life including aerobic and anaerobic chemoautotrophs and strict anaerobic methanogens sustained by Fe and S minerals in anoxic conditions. A key requirement for the analysis of a subsurface sample on Mars is a set of simple tests that can help determine if the sample contains organic material of biological origin, and its potential for retaining definitive biosignatures. We report here on the presence of bulk organic matter Corg (0.03-0.05 Wt%), and Ntot (0.01-0.04 Wt%) and amount of measured ATP (Lightning MVP, Biocontrol) in weathered rocks (tuffs, gossan, pyrite stockwork from Borehole #8; >166m). This provides key insight on the type of trophic system sustaining the subsurface biosphere (i.e., heterotrophs vs. autotrophs) at RT. ATP data (Relative-Luminosity-Units, RLU) provide information on possible contamination and distribution of viable biomass with core depth (BH#8, and BH#7, ~3m). Avg. 153 RLU, i.e., surface vs. center of core, suggest that cleaness/sterility can be maintained when using a simple sterile protocol under field conditions. Results from this

  9. Analysis of Organic Compounds in Mars Analog Samples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Buch, A.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Demick, J.; Glavin, D. P.

    2004-01-01

    The detailed characterization of organic compounds that might be preserved in rocks, ices, or sedimentary layers on Mars would be a significant step toward resolving the question of the habitability and potential for life on that planet. The fact that the Viking gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) did not detect organic compounds should not discourage further investigations since (a) an oxidizing environment in the near surface fines analyzed by Viking is likely to have destroyed many reduced carbon species; (b) there are classes of refractory or partially oxidized species such as carboxylic acids that would not have been detected by the Viking GCMS; and (c) the Viking landing sites are not representative of Mars overall. These factors motivate the development of advanced in situ analytical protocols to carry out a comprehensive survey of organic compounds in martian regolith, ices, and rocks. We combine pyrolysis GCMS for analysis of volatile species, chemical derivatization for transformation of less volatile organics, and laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) for analysis of elements and more refractory, higher-mass organics. To evaluate this approach and enable a comparison with other measurement techniques we analyze organics in Mars simulant samples.

  10. Laboratory characterization of the structural properties controlling dynamical gas transport in Mars-analog soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sizemore, Hanna G.; Mellon, Michael T.

    2008-10-01

    Dynamical transport of gases within the martian regolith controls many climatic processes, and is particularly important in the deposition and/or mobilization of shallow ground ice, as well as exchange of other volatiles between the martian regolith and atmosphere. A variety of theoretical studies have addressed issues related to ground ice dynamics on Mars and in the terrestrial analog environment of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. These theoretical studies have drawn on a limited set of empirical measurements to constrain the structural parameters controlling gas diffusion and flow in soils. Here, we investigate five groups of Mars-analog soils: glass spheres, JSC Mars-1, aeolian dune sand, Antarctic Dry Valley soils, and arctic loess. We present laboratory measurements of the structural properties most relevant to gas transport in these soils: porosity, tortuosity, permeability, bulk and intrinsic densities, grain-size distribution, pore-size distribution and BET surface area. Our results bear directly both on the appropriateness of assumptions made in theoretical studies and on current outstanding issues in the study of shallow ground ice on Mars and in the Dry Valleys. Specifically, we find that (1) measured values of tortuosity are lower than values commonly assumed for Mars by a factor of two to three; (2) diffusive loss of ground ice on Mars can likely proceed up to four times faster than predicted by theoretical studies; (3) soil permeabilities are sufficiently high that flushing of the soil column by bulk flow of atmospheric gases may further speed loss or deposition of shallow ground ice; (4) the pore volume in some Mars-analog soils is sufficiently high to explain high volumetric ice abundances inferred from Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer data as simple pore ice; and (5) measured properties of soils collected in Beacon Valley, Antarctica agree well with assumptions made in theoretical studies and are consistent with rapid loss of ground ice in the

  11. Organic Geochemistry of a 1.4-Billion-Year-Old Evaporitic Lake: Insights for the Mars 2020 SHERLOC Instrument

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osterhout, J. T.; Czaja, A. D.; Fralick, P. W.

    2016-05-01

    Evaporitic lakes on Mars have been considered interesting target sites for astrobiological investigations on Mars. Findings from this study provide a useful geochemical context for interpreting future detections of sedimentary organics by Mars 2020.

  12. Laboratory investigations of Mars - Chemical and spectroscopic characteristics of a suite of clays as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Banin, Amos; Carle, Glenn C.; Chang, Sherwood; Coyne, Lelia M.; Orenberg, James B.

    1988-01-01

    A model system of Mars soil analog materials (MSAMs) was prepared, and the properties of these clays, such as chemical composition, surface-ion composition, water adsorption isotherms, and reflectance spectra, were examined. The results of these studies, performed along with simulations of the Viking Labeled Release Experiement using MSAMs, indicate that surface iron and adsorbed water are important determinants of clay behavior, as evidenced by changes in reflectance, water absorption, and clay surface reactions. The paper discusses the relevance of these results to the two major questions raised by prior explorations of Mars: has there ever been abundant water on Mars, and why is the iron found in the Martian soil not readily seen in the reflectance spectra of the surface?

  13. Methanogenesis in hypersaline environments -Analogs for Ancient Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bebout, Brad; Chanton, Jeff; Kelley, Cheryl; Tazaz, Amanda; Poole, Jennifer; García Maldonado, José Q.; López Cortés, Alejandro

    The recent findings of evidence of large bodies of hypersaline water which existed in the past on Mars have underscored the need to investigate those environments for evidence of past, as well as extant, life. Methane, a key biomarker gas, has been reported in the atmosphere of Mars, and is known to be produced by microbial mats which are present in most hypersaline environments on Earth. Modern microbial mat communities are thought to be extant analogues of communities which were present early in Earth's geologic history, when environmental condition on Earth and Mars were similar. Because methane may be an indication of life (biogenic methane) but might also be a consequence of geologic activity (abiotic methane) and/or the thermal alteration of ancient organic matter (thermogenic methane), the stable isotopic composition of methane (both carbon and hydrogen) will be a key criterion for determining whether or not the methane on Mars is biologically produced, and if so, how recently (i.e., biogenic vs. thermogenic methane). The goals of our study are: a) to document the range of the stable isotopic composition of methane (both carbon and hydrogen) in hypersaline environments, and b) to understand the role of biology in generating that stable isotopic composition. Our results will help provide a framework for the interpretation of methane stable isotopic data from Mars. We have measured high concentrations of methane in bubbles of gas present in the Guerrero Negro hypersaline ecosystem, Baja California Mexico and in salt ponds on the San Francisco Bay. These bubbles are present both in sediments underlying microbial mats (including one site where methane constitutes nearly 40% by volume of the bubbles), as well as in areas not colonized by microbial mats; layers of evaporitic minerals in some areas trap gas containing high concentrations of methane. The carbon isotopic (δ 13 C) composition of the methane in collected bubbles exhibited an extremely wide range of

  14. A Periglacial Analog for Landforms in Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.

    2013-01-01

    Several features in a high thermal inertia (TI) unit at Gale crater can be interpreted within a periglacial framework. These features include polygonally fractured terrain (cf. ice-wedge polygons), circumferential patterns of polygonal fractures (cf. relict pingos with ice-wedge polygons on their surfaces), irregularly-shaped and clustered depressions (cf. remnants of collapsed pingos and ephemeral lakes), and a general hummocky topography (cf. thermokarst). This interpretation would imply a major history of water and ice in Gale crater, involving permafrost, freeze-thaw cycles, and perhaps ponded surface water.

  15. 2012 Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, Lee; Graff, Trevor G.; Aileen Yingst, R.; ten Kate, Inge L.; Russell, Patrick

    2015-05-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Four separate science investigations were integrated in a Martian analog environment with initial science operations planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred during the initial planning sessions and as the analog mission progressed. We review here the overall program of the investigation into the origin of the valley including preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering, and science trades and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as “Apollo Valley”.

  16. Laboratory Characterization of the Structural Properties Controlling Dynamical Gas Transport in Mars-Analog Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sizemore, H. G.; Mellon, M. T.

    2007-12-01

    Dynamical transport of gases with in the martian regolith controls many climatic processes, and is particularly important in the deposition and/or mobilization of shallow ground ice, as well as exchange of other volatiles between the martian regolith and atmosphere. A variety of theoretical studies have addressed issues related to ground ice dynamics on Mars and in the terrestrial analog environment of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. These theoretical studies have drawn on a limited set of empirical measurements to constrain the structural parameters controlling diffusion and flow in soils. Here, we investigate five groups of Mars-analog soils: glass spheres, JSC Mars-1, aeolian dune sand, Antarctic Dry Valley soils, and arctic loess. We present laboratory measurements of the structural properties most relevant to gas transport in these soils: porosity, tortuosity, permeability, bulk and intrinsic density, grain size distribution, pore size distribution and BET surface area. Our results bear directly both on the appropriateness of assumptions made in theoretical studies and on current outstanding issues in the study of shallow ground ice on Mars and the Dry Valleys. Specifically, we find that 1) measured values of tortuosity are lower than commonly assumed values by a factor of two to three; 2) diffusive loss of ground ice on Mars can likely proceed up to four times faster than predicted by theoretical studies; 3) soil permeabilities are sufficiently high that flushing of the soil column by bulk flow may further speed loss or deposition of shallow ground ice; 4) the pore volume in some Mars-analog soils is adequate to account for high volumetric ice abundances inferred from Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer data; and 5) superlative soil properties cannot resolve the on-going debate concerning the age of shallowly buried ice in Beacon Valley, Antarctica.

  17. Mars Redox Chemistry: Atacama Desert Soils as a Terrestrial Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, R. C.; Grunthaner, F. J.; Taylor, C. L.; Zent, A. P.

    2003-01-01

    The motivation for this work is to perform quantitative site characterizations of soil chemical processes to allow further development and field validation of the Mars Oxidant Instrument (MOI). The MOI is an in situ survey instrument designed to establish the presence of reactive chemical species in the martian soil, dust, or atmosphere, and to provide detailed reaction model system measurements to enable comprehensive Earthbased study. Functioning as a survey instrument, MOI tests the broad range of hypotheses explaining the reactivity of the martian surface material that have been put forth since the Viking experiments. This work is currently being carried out under the NASA ASTEP funded AstroBioLab (Jeffery Bada, PI). A second objective is to use Atacama field and Viking data to perform comparative studies, with the goal of furthering the understanding of the formation mechanisms and properties of martian oxidants.

  18. Earth analogs for Martian life. Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars.

    PubMed

    Rothschild, L J

    1990-01-01

    The prospect of life on Mars today is daunting. Especially problematic for a potential life form is a lack of water, particularly in a liquid state; extremely cold temperatures; ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; and soil oxidants. Yet, "oases" where life might persist have been suggested to occur in rocks (in analogy with endolithic microorganisms described from deserts around the world), in polar ice caps (in analogy with snow and ice algae) and in possible volcanic regions (in analogy with chemoautotrophs living in deep sea hydrothermal vents); all are critically examined. Microorganisms are known to be able to survive in salt crystals, and recently it has been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Because evaporites are thought to occur on Mars and can attenuate light in the UV range while being far more transparent to radiation useful for photosynthesis (400-700 nm), and because of the properties of these "endoevaporitic" organisms, I propose that such communities provide a new model system for studying potential life on Mars. On the basis of this model, I suggest possibilities for site selection for future exobiological experiments on Mars. PMID:11538366

  19. Earth analogs for Martian life. Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    1990-11-01

    The prospect of life on Mars today is daunting. Especially problematic for a potential life form is the lack of water, particularly in a liquid state; extremely cold temperatures; ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; and soil oxidants. Yet, "oases" where life might persist have been suggested to occur in rocks (in analogy with endolithic microorganisms described from deserts around the world), in polar ice caps (in analogy with snow and ice algae) and in possible volcanic regions (in analogy with chemoautotrophs living in deep sea hydrothermal vents); all are critically examined. Microorganisms are known to be able to survive in salt crystals, and recently it has been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Because evaporites are thought to occur on Mars and can attenuate light in the UV range while being far more transparent to radiation useful for photosynthesis (400-700 nm), and because of the properties of these "endoevaporitic" organisms, I propose that such communities provide a new model system for studying potential life on Mars. On the basis of this model, I suggest possibilities for site selection for future exobiological experiments on Mars.

  20. Mars Analog Mission: Glacier Simulation AMADEE-15 by Austrian Space Forum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Groemer, Gernot; Losiak, Anna; Soucek, Alexander; Plank, Clemens; Zanardini, Laura; Sejkora, Nina; Sams, Sebastian

    2016-04-01

    Austrian Space Forum: The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF, Österreichisches Weltraum Forum) is a non-profit, citizen-science organization of aerospace specialists and enthusiasts. One of its specialisations is Mars analog research. Analog studies and analog instrument validation supported all planetary surface missions so far [1] and are considered as an effective tool to prepare for future missions to Mars [2,3,4,5,6,7]. Since 2006, OeWF has conducted 11 Mars analog field campaigns in diverse locations that represented: 1) average current Mars conditions (the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah in 2006 [8] and the Northern Sahara near Erfoud, Morocco in 2013 [9]); 2) the early and wet Mars (analog site of Rio Tinto Spain in 2011 [10]); and 3) subsurface exploration (Dachstein Ice Caves in 2012). During these campaigns, 68 experiments and major engineering tests were performed, whichwere mostly focused on astrobiology, robotics, human factors, geoscience and spacesuit operations. Major assets of OeWF include two advanced spacesuit simulators Aouda [11], an increasingly evolving Mission Support Center, a dedicated Remote Science Support team [12], and a growing set of Standard Operating Procedures defining major workflows within a mission team. The spacesuit simulators were operated by a total of 18 analog astronauts, who were selected and trained during a >6 month program. Total EVA time is nearly 600 hours, leading to a significant experience in analog field simulations. AMADEE-15: The mission took place between August 2nd and 14th 2015 at the Kaunertal Glacier in Tyrol, Austria. This glacier was selected as a study site because of its accessibility and high number of micro-landscapes analogous to those expected on Mars in locations where abundant water ice is present. As such it is considered a first-tier Mars analog [13]. The Base station was located at N 46.86320, E 10.71401 at 2800 masl, the highest reached location was on elevation of 2887 m. Eleven

  1. Mega-ripples in Iran: A new analog for transverse aeolian ridges on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foroutan, M.; Zimbelman, J. R.

    2016-08-01

    A new terrestrial analog site for transverse aeolian ridges (TARs) is described in this study. The Lut desert of Iran hosts large ripple-like aeolian bedforms, with the same horizontal length scales and patterns of TARs on Mars. Different classes of TARs and different types of other aeolian features such as sand dunes, zibars, dust devil tracks and yardangs can be found in this area, which signify an active aeolian region. This area represents a unique site to study the formation and evolution of these enigmatic features, with potential relevance toward a better understanding of TARs on Mars.

  2. Terrestrial Microorganism and Biomarker Survival as a Function of Depth in a Mars Analog Regolith After Exposure to Mars Surface Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, A. P.; Onstott, T. C.; Pratt, L. M.; Pfiffner, S.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Bryan, R. A.; White, L.; Radtke, K.; Chan, E.; Tronnick, S.; Borgonie, G.; Mancinelli, R.; Rothschild, L.; Rogoff, D.

    2010-04-01

    Several strains of microorganisms and relevant bio-markers were embedded within a Mars analog regolith, exposed to 41 days of diurnal martian conditions, and sampled with respect to depth for viable cell counts and extent of organic matter oxidation.

  3. Microorganism and Organic Biomarker Survival as a Function of Depth in a Mars Analog Regolith after Exposure to Mars Surface Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, A. P.; Onstott, T. C.; Pratt, L. M.; Pfiffner, S.; Vishnivetskaya, T. A.; Bryan, R. A.; White, L.; Radtke, K.; Chan, E.; Tronnick, S.; Borgonie, G.; Mancinelli, R.; Rothschild, L.; Rogoff, D.

    2010-03-01

    Microorganism and relevant biomarkers were exposed to several weeks of simulated martian conditions while embedded within a synthetic Mars analog regolith. Survival of organisms and biomarkers was related to burial depth and UV exposure with time.

  4. Reflectance and Mossbauer spectroscopy of ferrihydrite-montmorillonite assemblages as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Chang, S. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses show that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite has been identified as the interlayer ferric component in Fe(3+)-doped smectites by a low quadrupole splitting and magnetic field strength of approximately 48 tesla in Mossbauer spectra measured at 4.2 K, as well as a crystal field transition at 0.92 micrometer. Ferrihydrite in these smectites explains features in the visible-near infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Clay silicates have met resistance in the past as Mars soil analogs because terrestrial clay silicates exhibit prominent hydrous spectral features at 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 micrometers; and these are observed weakly, if at all, in reflectance spectra of Mars. However, several mechanisms can weaken or compress these features, including desiccation under low-humidity conditions. The hydration properties of the interlayer cations also effect band strengths, such that a ferrihydrite-bearing smectite in the Martian environment would exhibit a 1.9 micrometers H2O absorption that is even weaker than the 2.2 micrometers structural OH absorption. Mixing experiments demonstrate that infrared spectral features of clays can be significantly suppressed and that the reflectance can be significantly darkened by mixing with only a few percent of a strongly absorbing opaque material. Therefore, the absolute reflectance of a soil on Mars may be disproportionately sensitive to a minor component. For this reason, the shape and position of spectral features and the chemical composition of potential analogs are of utmost importance in assessing the composition of the soil on Mars. Given the remarkable similarity between visible-infrared reflectance spectra of soils in bright regions on Mars and Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonites, coupled with recent observations of smectites in SNC

  5. A Web-based Collaborative Tool for Mars Analog Data Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Necsoiu, M.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Heggy, E.; Farr, T. G.

    2005-01-01

    Solving today's complex research and modeling challenges are dependent on our ability to discover, access, integrate, and share information from multiple sources. The planetary sciences community is no exception'; over the last few years, the need for data mining and exploration tools that can expedite comparative studies between Martian and terrestrial analogs sites and aid the interpretation of Mars data sets has become evident. Data sharing maximizes scientific return from studies and data sets.

  6. Bonneville Basin Analogues for Large Lake Processes & Chronologies of Geomorphic Development on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nicoll, K.; Chan, M. A.; Parker, T. J.; Jewell, P. W.; Komatsu, G.; Okubo, C. H.

    2009-03-01

    We present an inventory of geomorphic analogues for Lake Bonneville and Mars, with focus on potential standing-water features. The goal is to understand water as a geomorphic agent at a variety of temporal and spatial scales.

  7. Intracrater Evaporite Deposits of the Lake St. Martin Impact Structure: Implications for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stromberg, J.; Berard, G.; Mann, P.; Cloutis, E.

    2011-03-01

    The gypsum-rich intracrater evaporate deposits of the Lake St. Martin impact structure and its spectrally detectable endolithic microbial communities make it a relevant analogue for similar deposits on Mars.

  8. Mass spectrometry for direct identification of biosignatures and microorganisms in Earth analogs of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Descalzo, Laura; García-López, Eva; Maria Moreno, Ana; Alcazar, Alberto; Baquero, Fernando; Cid, Cristina

    2012-11-01

    Rover missions to Mars require portable instruments that use minimal power, require no sample preparation, and provide suitably diagnostic information to an Earth-based exploration team. In exploration of analog environments of Mars it is important to screen rapidly for the presence of biosignatures and microorganisms and especially to identify them accurately. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) has enormously contributed to the understanding of protein chemistry and cell biology. Without this technique proteomics would most likely not be the important discipline it is today. In this study, besides 'true' proteomics, MALDI-TOF-MS was applied for the analysis of microorganisms for their taxonomic characterization from its beginning. An approach was developed for direct analysis of whole bacterial cells without a preceding fractionation or separation by chromatography or electrophoresis on samples of bacteria from an Antarctic glacier. Supported by comprehensive databases, MALDI-TOF-MS-based identification could be widely accepted within only a few years for bacterial differentiation in Mars analogs and could be a technique of election for Mars exploration.

  9. Low Biotoxicities of Analog Soils Suggest that the Surface of Mars May Be Habitable for Terrestrial Microorganisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, D. W.; Golden, D. C.

    2012-03-01

    Bacillus subtilis and Enterococcus faecalis were exposed to six Mars analog soils under martian conditions. Only high-salt soils were observed to be moderately biotoxic to both species, suggesting regoltih may be habitable to terrestrial microorganisms.

  10. Near-infrared spectroscopy of lacustrine sediments in the Great Salt Lake Desert: An analog study for Martian paleolake basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, Kennda L.; Horgan, Briony H.; Munakata-Marr, Junko; Hanley, Jennifer; Schneider, Robin J.; Rey, Kevin A.; Spear, John R.; Jackson, W. Andrew; Ritter, Scott M.

    2015-03-01

    The identification and characterization of aqueous minerals within ancient lacustrine environments on Mars are a high priority for determining the past habitability of the red planet. Terrestrial analog studies are useful both for understanding the mineralogy of lacustrine sediments, how the mineralogy varies with location in a lacustrine environment, and for validating the use of certain techniques such as visible-near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. In this study, sediments from the Pilot Valley paleolake basin of the Great Salt Lake desert were characterized using VNIR as an analog for Martian paleolake basins. The spectra and subsequent interpretations were then compared to mineralogical characterization by ground truth methods, including X-ray diffraction, automated scanning electron microscopy, and several geochemical analysis techniques. In general, there is good agreement between VNIR and ground truth methods on the major classes of minerals present in the lake sediments and VNIR spectra can also easily discriminate between clay-dominated and salt-dominated lacustrine terrains within the paleolake basin. However, detection of more detailed mineralogy is difficult with VNIR spectra alone as some minerals can dominate the spectra even at very low abundances. At this site, the VNIR spectra are dominated by absorption bands that are most consistent with gypsum and smectites, though the ground truth methods reveal more diverse mineral assemblages that include a variety of sulfates, primary and secondary phyllosilicates, carbonates, and chlorides. This study provides insight into the limitations regarding the use of VNIR in characterizing complex mineral assemblages inherent in lacustrine settings.

  11. A Closed Mars Analog Simulation: The Approach of Crew 5 At the Mars Desert Research Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clancey, William J.; Koga, Dennis (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    For twelve days in April 2002 we performed a closed simulation in the Mars Desert Research Station, isolated from other people, as on Mars, while performing systematic surface exploration and life support chores. Email provided our only means of contact; no phone or radio conversations were possible. All mission-related messages were mediated by a remote mission support team. This protocol enabled a systematic and controlled study of crew activities, scheduling, and use of space. The analysis presented here focuses on two questions: Where did the time go-why did people feel rushed and unable to complete their work? How can we measure and model productivity, to compare habitat designs, schedules, roles, and tools? Analysis suggests that a simple scheduling change-having lunch and dinner earlier, plus eliminating afternoon meetings-increased the available productive time by 41%.

  12. New Method for the Detection of Organosulfur Biosignatures in Mars-Analog Terrestrial Sedimentary Facies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mora, M. F.; Tuite, M. L., Jr.; Hoffmann, A.; Willis, P. A.; Williford, K. H.

    2014-12-01

    Thiols are the dominant form of sulfur in terrestrial organisms where they are present in the amino acids cysteine and methionine as well as various co-enzymes. Despite their biogeochemical importance, thiols are not typically evaluated as biosignatures of past life because their high reactivity prevents analysis by GC-MS and suggests they would likely not be preserved over geological timescales. Employing microchip capillary electrophoresis coupled to fluorescence detection we observed thiols in samples from a ~200 million year old methane seep in the south of England. In order to identify the thiol in the sample we have developed a new GC-MS method that involves derivatization of thiols with a trialkysilyl reagent (MSTFA). We are currently optimizing the method to improve the yield of derivatization and to maximize chromatographic separation. The abundance of sulfur on Mars has been confirmed by numerous data from both in situ and remote sensing instruments. Most recently, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover detected calcium sulfates and iron sulfides among the sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay. In anticipation of a Mars sample return mission, we have begun collection and evaluation of Mars-analog sedimentary facies for the presence of thiols. Discovery of thiols in martian rocks would provide strong evidence for a biologically-mediated sulfur cycle on Mars.

  13. Chemical and spectroscopic characterization of a suite of Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coyne, L. M.; Banin, A.; Orenberg, J. B.; Carle, G. C.; Chang, S.; Scattergood, T. W.

    1987-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has begun preparations for the flight of the Mars Observer Mission in the early 1990s. An advanced ground-based study is being conducted on a usefully limited suite of Mars Soil Analog Materials (MarSAM) intended to simulate the aeolian material covering the surface of Mars. A series of variably proportioned iron/calcium smectite clays were prepared from a typical montmorillonite clay using the Banin method. The effect of increasing iron on a diverse set of chemical and spectroscopic properties of the suite of clays is discussed. In order to chemically characterize the MarSAM and compare them with the Martian soil studied by Viking, the clays were analyzed for their major and minor elemental compositions by X-ray fluorescence and ion-coupled plasma techniques. It was concluded that the surface iron has a complex and hitherto uninvestigated impact on the catalytic and spectroscopic properties of clays and on the ability of these material to store energy.

  14. Echo Source Discrimination in Airborne Radar Sounding Data From the Dry Valleys, Antarctica, for Mars Analog Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, J. W.; Blankenship, D. D.; Peters, M. E.; Kempf, S. D.; Williams, B. J.

    2003-12-01

    The identification of features on Mars exhibiting morphologies consistent with ice/rock mixtures, near-surface ice bodies and near-surface liquid water, and the importance of such features to the search for water on Mars highlights the need for appropriate terrestrial analogs in order to prepare for upcoming radar missions targeting these and other water-related features. Climatic, hydrological, and geological conditions in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are analogous in many ways to those on Mars, and a number of ice-related features in the Dry Valleys may have direct morphologic and compositional counterparts on Mars. We have collected roughly 1,000 line-km of airborne radar sounding data in the Dry Valleys for Mars analog studies. A crucial first step in the data analysis process is the discrimination of echo sources in the radar data. The goal is to identify all returns from the surface of surrounding topography in order to positively identify subsurface echoes. This process will also be critical for radar data that will be collected in areas of Mars exhibiting significant topography, so that subsurface echoes are identified unambiguously. Using a Twin Otter airborne platform, data were collected in three separate flights during the austral summers of 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 using multiple systems, including a chirped 52.5 - 67.5 MHz coherent radar operating at 750 W and 8 kW peak power (with multiple receivers) and 1 - 2 microsecond pulse width, and a 60 MHz pulsed, incoherent radar operating at 8 kW peak power with 60 ns and 250 ns pulse width. The chirped, coherent data are suitable for the implementation of advanced pulse compression algorithms and SAR focusing. Flight elevation was nominally 500 m above the surface. Targets included permafrost, subsurface ice bodies, rock/ice glaciers, ice-covered saline lakes, and glacial deposits in Taylor and Beacon Valleys. A laser altimeter (fixed relative to the aircraft frame) was also used during both

  15. Searching for Organics During the Robotic Mars Analog Rio Tinto Drilling Experiment: Ground Truth and Contamination Issues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaccorsi, R.; Stoker, C. R.; Marte Project Science Team

    2007-03-01

    The Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE) performed a simulation of a Mars drilling experiment at the Rio Tinto (Spain). Ground-truth and contamination issues during the distribution of bulk organics and their CN isotopic composition in hematite and go

  16. Geomorphic knobs of Candor Chasma, Mars: New Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data and comparisons to terrestrial analogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chan, M.A.; Ormo, J.; Murchie, S.; Okubo, C.H.; Komatsu, G.; Wray, J.J.; McGuire, P.; McGovern, J.A.

    2010-01-01

    High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery and digital elevation models of the Candor Chasma region of Valles Marineris, Mars, reveal prominent and distinctive positive-relief knobs amidst light-toned layers. Three classifications of knobs, Types 1, 2, and 3, are distinguished from a combination of HiRISE and Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) images based on physical expressions (geometries, spatial relationships), and spectral data from Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Type 1 knobs are abundant, concentrated, topographically resistant features with their highest frequency in West Candor, which have consistent stratigraphic correlations of the peak altitude (height). These Type 1 knobs could be erosional remnants of a simple dissected terrain, possibly derived from a more continuous, resistant, capping layer of pre-existing material diagenetically altered through recrystallization or cementation. Types 2 and 3 knobs are not linked to a single stratigraphic layer and are generally solitary to isolated, with variable heights. Type 3 are the largest knobs at nearly an order of magnitude larger than Type 1 knobs. The variable sizes and occasional pits on the tops of Type 2 and 3 knobs suggest a different origin, possibly related to more developed erosion, preferential cementation, or textural differences from sediment/water injection or intrusion, or from a buried impact crater. Enhanced color HiRISE images show a brown coloration of the knob peak crests that is attributable to processing and photometric effects; CRISM data do not show any detectable spectral differences between the knobs and the host rock layers, other than albedo. These intriguing knobs hold important clues to deducing relative rock properties, timing of events, and weathering conditions of Mars history. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. The importance of environmental conditions in reflectance spectroscopy of laboratory analogs for Mars surface materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, J.; Murchie, S.; Pratt, S.; Mustard, J.; Pieters, C.

    Reflectance spectra are presented here for a variety of particulate, ferric-containing analogs to Martian soil (Fe(3+)-doped smectites and palagonites) to facilitate interpretation of remotely acquired spectra. The analog spectra were measured under differing environmental conditions to evaluate the influence of exposure history on water content and absorption features due to H2O in these samples. Each of these materials contains structural OH bonded to metal cations, adsorbed H2O, and bound H2O (either in a glass, structural site, or bound to a cation). Previous experiments involving a variety of Mars analogs have shown that the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of palagonites is more resistant to drying than the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of montmorillonites. Other experiments have shown that spectra of ferrihydrite and montmorillonites doped with ferric sulfate also contain sufficient bound H2O to retain a strong 3 micron band under dry conditions. Once the effects of the environment on bound water in clays, oxides, and salts are better understood, the hydration bands measured via reflectance spectroscopy can be used to gain information about the chemical composition and moisture content of real soil systems. Such information would be especially useful in interpreting observations of Mars where subtle spatial variations in the strengths of metal-OH and H2O absorptions have been observed in telescopic and ISM spectra. We measured bidirectional reflectance spectra of several Mars soil analogs under controlled environmental conditions to assess the effects of moisture content on the metal-OH and H2O absorptions. The samples analyzed include chemically altered montmorillonites, ferrihydrite. and palagonites from Hawaii and Iceland. Procedures for preparation of the cation-exchanged montmorillonites, ferric-salt doped montmorillonites, and ferric oxyhydroxides are described in detail elsewhere.

  18. The importance of environmental conditions in reflectance spectroscopy of laboratory analogs for Mars surface materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J.; Murchie, S.; Pratt, S.; Mustard, J.; Pieters, C.

    1993-01-01

    Reflectance spectra are presented here for a variety of particulate, ferric-containing analogs to Martian soil (Fe(3+)-doped smectites and palagonites) to facilitate interpretation of remotely acquired spectra. The analog spectra were measured under differing environmental conditions to evaluate the influence of exposure history on water content and absorption features due to H2O in these samples. Each of these materials contains structural OH bonded to metal cations, adsorbed H2O, and bound H2O (either in a glass, structural site, or bound to a cation). Previous experiments involving a variety of Mars analogs have shown that the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of palagonites is more resistant to drying than the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of montmorillonites. Other experiments have shown that spectra of ferrihydrite and montmorillonites doped with ferric sulfate also contain sufficient bound H2O to retain a strong 3 micron band under dry conditions. Once the effects of the environment on bound water in clays, oxides, and salts are better understood, the hydration bands measured via reflectance spectroscopy can be used to gain information about the chemical composition and moisture content of real soil systems. Such information would be especially useful in interpreting observations of Mars where subtle spatial variations in the strengths of metal-OH and H2O absorptions have been observed in telescopic and ISM spectra. We measured bidirectional reflectance spectra of several Mars soil analogs under controlled environmental conditions to assess the effects of moisture content on the metal-OH and H2O absorptions. The samples analyzed include chemically altered montmorillonites, ferrihydrite. and palagonites from Hawaii and Iceland. Procedures for preparation of the cation-exchanged montmorillonites, ferric-salt doped montmorillonites, and ferric oxyhydroxides are described in detail elsewhere.

  19. Antarctic Mirabilite Mounds as Mars Analogs: The Lewis Cliffs Ice Tongue Revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Sun, Tao; Niles, Paul B.; Harvey, Ralph P.; Bish, David L.; Tonui, Eric

    2012-01-01

    It has been proposed, based on geomorphic and geochemical arguments, that subsurface water has played an important role in the history of water on the planet Mars [1]. Subsurface water, if present, could provide a protected and long lived environment for potential life. Discovery of gullies [2] and recurring slopes [3] on Mars suggest the potential for subsurface liquid water or brines. Recent attention has also focused on small (< approx. 1km dia.) mound-like geomorphic features discovered within the mid to high latitudes on the surface of Mars which may be caused by eruptions of subsurface fluids [4, 5]. We have identified massive but highly localized Na-sulfate deposits (mirabilite mounds, Na2SO4 .10H2O) that may be derived from subsurface fluids and may provide insight into the processes associated with subsurface fluids on Mars. The mounds are found on the end moraine of the Lewis Cliffs Ice Tongue (LCIT) [6] in the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica, and are potential terrestrial analogs for mounds observed on the martian surface. The following characteristics distinguish LCIT evaporite mounds from other evaporite mounds found in Antarctic coastal environments and/or the McMurdo Dry Valleys: (1) much greater distance from the open ocean (approx.500 km); (2) higher elevation (approx.2200 meters); and (3) colder average annual temperature (average annual temperature = -30 C for LCIT [7] vs. 20 C at sea level in the McMurdo region [8]. Furthermore, the recent detection of subsurface water ice (inferred as debris-covered glacial ice) by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter [9] supports the use of an Antarctic glacial environment, particularly with respect to the mirabilite deposits described in this work, as an ideal terrestrial analog for understanding the geochemistry associated with near-surface martian processes. S and O isotopic compositions.

  20. Earth Analog Seismic Deployment for InSight's Mars seismic installation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kedar, S.; Bradford, S. C.; Clayton, R. W.; Davis, P. M.; Ervin, J.; Kawamura, T.; Lognonne, P. H.; Lorenz, R. D.; Mimoun, D.; Murdoch, N.; Roberson, T.; Stubailo, I.; Van Buren, D.

    2014-12-01

    InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. InSight's main experiment is the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), which will robotically place a broadband seismometer provided by the French Space Agency (CNES) on the Martian surface. SEIS will operate on the surface for a full Mars year. Installing and operating a seismometer on Mars imposes constraints rarely considered in terrestrial seismic installations. The InSight project has therefore conducted a terrestrial analog field deployment exercise to better understand and prepare for the distinctive challenges that placing a broadband seismometer in a Mars-like configuration and environment would pose. The exercise was conducted in two phases at NASA's Goldstone facility in the Southern California Mojave desert. In the first phase we have installed a surface geophysical station including a broadband seismometer, a microbarometer, anemometer, and thermal sensors in a configuration resembling the InSight's geophysical station. The site was located in an exposed location with rough surface and subsurface terrain. It was in close proximity to Goldstone permanent seismic station (GSC) that provided a ground-truth measurement. In the second phase, the installation was moved to a dry lakebed where the geophysical conditions mimic the expected geophysical environment of InSight's target landing site on Mars. We will present a summary of lessons learned so far from our analog deployment exercise. The data analysis emphasizes several aspects of key importance to the InSight mission: (1) Exploring strategies to mitigate environmental noise sources; (2) Recognizing noise sources that might be introduced by the InSight lander (solar panel flutter); (3) Identifying weak geophysical signals with low SNR above the environmental noise; (4) Using non tectonic

  1. Mars Surface Analog Project: Preparing for Astronauts' First Hours on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charles, J.; Evanoff, J.; Johnson, M.; Loerch, L.; Whelan, S.; Amonette, W.; Sanders, J.; Haralson, C.; Paloski, W.

    2004-01-01

    Astronaut missions to Mars may be decades in the future, but contemporary estimates of the physical capabilities of the crewmembers upon arrival after prolonged transit can guide development of operational requirements to be imposed on them. Requirements for functional capacities will differ depending on whether they land in a spartan ascent vehicle or in a well-equipped habitat, but each of those options brings with it certain operational risks. Rehabilitation will be an important factor for crew health, safety and efficiency after the multi-month transit from Earth. Specific recommendations will be stipulated for the time to be allotted for on-planet rehabilitation before the first planned surface excursion, such as the transfer from the ascent-lander to the habitat-lander. Three sequential workshops (the third including extramural experts in appropriate fields) examined the likely capabilities of crewmembers shortly after landing on Mars, the predicted operational requirements they will face, and the near-term steps to close the gap between the requirements and capabilities.

  2. Effects of sterilizing doses of gamma radiation on Mars analog rocks and minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Albert, Fred G.; Combie, Joan; Banin, Amos; Yablekovitch, Yehuda; Kan, Ido; Bodnar, Robert J.; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Kuebler, Karla; Wang, Alian; Lindstrom, David J.; Morris, Penny A.; Morris, Richard V.; Murray, Richard W.; Nyquist, Laurence E.; Simpson, Paul D.; Steele, Andrew; Symes, Steven J.

    Rock and soil samples from the planet Mars are due to be returned to Earth within a decade. Martian samples initially will be tested for evidence of life and biological hazard under strict biological containment. Wider distribution of samples for organic and inorganic analysis may occur only if neither evidence of life nor hazard is detected, or if the samples are first sterilized. We subjected a range of Mars analog rocks and minerals to high doses of gamma radiation in order to determine the effects of gamma sterilization on the samples' isotopic, chemical, and physical properties. Gamma photons from 60Co (1.17 and 1.33 MeV) in doses as high as 3×107rads did not induce radioactivity in the samples and produced no measurable changes in their isotopic and chemical compositions. This level of irradiation also produced no measurable changes in the crystallographic structure of any sample, the surface areas of soil analogs, or the fluid inclusion homogenization temperature of quartz. The only detectable effects of irradiation were dose-dependent changes in the visible and near-infrared spectral region (e.g., discoloration and darkening of quartz and halite and an increase in albedo of carbonates) and increases in the thermoluminescence of quartz and plagioclase. If samples returned from Mars require biological sterilization, gamma irradiation provides a feasible option.

  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument as a Terrestrial Mars Analog: Examination of Mars Analog Phosphate Minerals, Phosphate Mineral Shock-Recovery Experiments, and Phosphate Minerals in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adcock, C. T.; Hausrath, E.; Tschauner, O. D.; Udry, A.

    2015-12-01

    Martian analogs, meteorites, and data from unmanned missions have greatly advanced our understanding of martian surface and near-surface processes. In particular, terrestrial analogs allow us to investigate Mars-relevant geomorphic, geochemical, petrogenetic, and hydrologic processes, as well as potential habitability. Craters of the Moon National Monument (COTM), located on the Snake River Plain of Idaho in the United States, represents a valuable phosphate-rich Mars analog, allowing us to examine phosphate minerals, important as volatile indicators and potential nutrient providers, under Mars-relevant conditions. COTM is in an arid to semi-arid environment with sub-freezing lows much of the year. Though wetter than present day Mars (24 - 38 cm MAP) [1], COTM may be analogous to a warmer and wetter past Mars. The area is also the locale of numerous lava flows, a number of which have been dated (2,000 to >18,000 y.b.p.) [2]. The flows have experienced weathering over time and thus represent a chronosequence with application to weathering on Mars. The flows have unusual chemistries, including high average phosphate contents (P2O5 1.75 wt% n=23 flows) [2], close to those in rocks analyzed at Gusev Crater, Mars (P2O5 1.79 wt% n=18 rocks) [3]. The Mars-like high phosphorus contents indicate a potential petrogenetic link and are also of astrobiological interest. Further, current samples of Mars phosphate minerals are limited to meteorites which have been heavily shocked - COTM represents a potential pre-shock and geochemical analog to Mars. We investigated weathering on COTM basalts and shock effects on Mars-relevant phosphate minerals. We used scanning electron microscopy, backscattered electron imagery, and X-Ray analysis/mapping to investigate COTM thin sections. Synchrotron diffraction was used to investigate martian meteorites and laboratory shocked Mars/COTM-relevant minerals for comparison. Results of our investigations indicate porosity development correlates

  4. The high elevation Dry Valleys in Antarctica as analog sites for subsurface ice on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heldmann, J. L.; Pollard, W.; McKay, C. P.; Marinova, M. M.; Davila, A.; Williams, K. E.; Lacelle, D.; Andersen, D. T.

    2013-09-01

    The high elevation valleys of the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are the only locations on Earth known to contain dry permafrost. The Dry Valleys are a hyper-arid polar desert environment and above 1500 m elevation, air temperatures do not exceed 0 °C and thus, similarly to Mars, liquid water is largely absent and instead the hydrologic cycle is dominated by frozen ice and vapor phase processes such as sublimation. These conditions make the high elevation Dry Valleys a key Mars analog location where periglacial processes and geomorphic features, and their use as a diagnostic for subsurface ice, can be studied in situ. Two valleys in the upper Dry Valleys show a diversity of subsurface ice; University Valley is dominated by dry permafrost overlying ice-cemented to ice-bonded ground and nearby middle Beacon Valley is dominated by massive ground ice. In both cases the ice is 10-60 cm below the surface. Here we compare the surface features in these two valleys to assess any correlation with the nature of the subsurface ice and compare these features to similar features seen at the Phoenix landing site on Mars. We conclude that while surface features may be indicative of ground ice, no specific correlations are possible and more direct methods are required to determine the nature of subsurface ice on Mars.

  5. Thermal mapping and trends of Mars analog materials in sample acquisition operations using experimentation and models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szwarc, Timothy; Hubbard, Scott

    2014-09-01

    The effects of atmosphere, ambient temperature, and geologic material were studied experimentally and using a computer model to predict the heating undergone by Mars rocks during rover sampling operations. Tests were performed on five well-characterized and/or Mars analog materials: Indiana limestone, Saddleback basalt, kaolinite, travertine, and water ice. Eighteen tests were conducted to 55 mm depth using a Mars Sample Return prototype coring drill, with each sample containing six thermal sensors. A thermal simulation was written to predict the complete thermal profile within each sample during coring and this model was shown to be capable of predicting temperature increases with an average error of about 7%. This model may be used to schedule power levels and periods of rest during actual sample acquisition processes to avoid damaging samples or freezing the bit into icy formations. Maximum rock temperature increase is found to be modeled by a power law incorporating rock and operational parameters. Energy transmission efficiency in coring is found to increase linearly with rock hardness and decrease by 31% at Mars pressure.

  6. Coordinating Chemical and Mineralogical Analyses of Antarctic Dry Valley Sediments as Potential Analogs for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patel, S. N.; Bishop, J. L.; Englert, P.; Gibson, E. K.

    2015-01-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys (ADV) provide a unique terrestrial analog for Martian surface processes as they are extremely cold and dry sedimentary environments. The surface geology and the chemical composition of the Dry Valleys that are similar to Mars suggest the possible presence of these soil-formation processes on Mars. The soils and sediments from Wright Valley, Antarctica were investigated in this study to examine mineralogical and chemical changes along the surface layer in this region and as a function of depth. Surface samples collected near Prospect Mesa and Don Juan Pond of the ADV were analyzed using visible/near-infrared (VNIR) and mid-IR reflectance spectroscopy and major and trace element abundances.

  7. Icebreaker-3 Drill Integration and Testing at Two Mars-Analog Sites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B.; Bergman, D.; Yaggi, B.; Dave, A.; Zacny, K.

    2016-01-01

    A decade of evolutionary development of integrated automated drilling and sample handling at analog sites and in test chambers has made it possible to go 1 meter through hard rocks and ice layers on Mars. The latest Icebreaker-3 drill has been field tested in 2014 at the Haughton Crater Marsanalog site in the Arctic and in 2015 with a Mars lander mockup in Rio Tinto, Spain, (with sample transfer arm and with a prototype life-detection instrument). Tests in Rio Tinto in 2015 successfully demonstrated that the drill sample (cuttings) was handed-off from the drill to the sample transfer arm and thence to the on-deck instrument inlet where it was taken in and analyzed ("dirt-to-data").

  8. Earth analogs for Martian life - Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    1990-01-01

    It is suggested that 'oases' in which life forms may persist on Mars could occur, by analogy with terrestrial cases, in (1) rocks, as known in endolithic microorganisms, (2) polar ice caps, as seen in snow and ice algae, and (3) volcanic regions, as witnessed in the chemoautotrophs which live in ocean-floor hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms, moreover, have been known to survive in salt crystals, and it has even been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Evaporites which may occur on Mars would be able to attenuate UV light, while remaining more transparent to the 400-700 nm radiation useful in photosynthesis. Suggestions are made for the selection of Martian exobiological investigation sites.

  9. Water Uptake by Mars Salt Analogs: An Investigation of Stable Aqueous Solutions Using Raman Microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuding, Danielle L.

    Liquid water processes that may occur on the surface and near-subsurface of Mars have important implications for the present-day water cycle, habitability, and planetary protection policies. The presence of salts on Mars plays a role in surface-atmosphere interactions as salts enhance the soil's ability to retain water. This thesis explores the phase transitions of water upon interaction with Mars relevant salt analogs. Water uptake and loss properties of a single and complex Mars analog are examined using a Raman microscope equipped with an environmental cell. The effect of the hygroscopic salts on bacterial spores was evaluated with a focus on potential terrestrial contamination on outbound spacecraft and its influence on planetary protection concerns. Calcium perchlorate (Ca(ClO4)2) is a highly deliquescent salt that may exist on the surface of present-day Mars. Here, we quantify the deliquescent relative humidity (DRH) and efflorescent relative humidity (ERH) of Ca(ClO4)2 as a function of temperature (223 K to 273 K) to elucidate its behavior on the surface of Mars. Mars relevant temperature and relative humidity (RH) conditions were simulated and deliquescence (solid to aqueous) and efflorescence (aqueous to solid) phase transitions of Ca(ClO4)2 were characterized. Experimental DRH values were compared to a thermodynamic model for three hydration states of Ca(ClO 4)2. Calcium perchlorate was found to supersaturate, with lower ERH values than DRH values. Additionally, we conducted a 17-hour experiment to simulate a subsurface relative humidity and temperature diurnal cycle. This demonstrated that aqueous Ca(ClO4)2 solutions can persist without efflorescing for the majority of a martian sol, up to 17 hours under Mars temperature heating rates and RH conditions. Applying these experimental results to martian surface and subsurface heat and mass transfer models, we find that aqueous Ca(ClO4)2 solutions could persist for most of the martian sol under present

  10. Salivary amylase and stress during stressful environment: three Mars analog mission crews study.

    PubMed

    Rai, Balwant; Kaur, Jasdeep; Foing, Bernard H

    2012-06-14

    After the establishment of the space age physicians, human factors engineers, neurologist and psychologists and their special attention to work on people's capability to meet up the physical, psychological, neuroscience and interpersonal strains of working in space, it has been regarded as an issue that seeks urgent consideration. Not study was conducted on effect of simulated Mars analog environment on stress and salivary amylase. So, this study aimed to confirm whether salivary amylase is act as stress biomarker in crew members who took part in Mars analog mission in an isolated and stressful environment. The 18 crew members were selected who took part in Mars Analog Research Station, Utah. Salivary amylase was measured using a biosensor of salivary amylase monitor and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score at pre-extravehicular activity, post-extravehicular activity and on before mission. The state and trait anxiety scores at pre-extravehicular activity for each commander were elevated as compared to after extravehicular activity. There were significant differences in the state and trait anxiety scores between before extravehicular activity and after extravehicular activity of Commander and other members, also there were significant differences in values of before-extravehicular activity between commanders and other members. There were significant differences in values of salivary amylase at before extravehicular activity and after extravehicular activity between commander group and other members. There was significant correlation between salivary amylase and state and trait anxiety scores in all groups. Measuring salivary amylase level could be useful for stress assessment of crew members and population working in a stressful and isolated environment. PMID:22554904

  11. Low Biotoxicity of Mars Analog Soils Suggests that the Surface of Mars May be Habitable for Terrestrial Microorganisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Golden, D. C.

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies on the interactive effects of hypobaria, low temperatures, and CO2-enriched anoxic atmospheres on the growth of 37 species of mesophilic bacteria identified 14 potential biocidal agents that might affect microbial survival and growth on the martian surface. Biocidal or inhibitory factors include (not in priority): (1) solar UV irradiation, (2) low pressure, (3) extreme desiccating conditions, (4) extreme diurnal temperature fluctuations, (5) solar particle events, (6) galactic cosmic rays, (7) UV-glow discharge from blowing dust, (8) solar UV-induced volatile oxidants [e.g., O2(-), O(-), H2O2, O3], (9) globally distributed oxidizing soils, (10) extremely high salts levels [e.g., MgCl2, NaCl, FeSO4, and MgSO4] in surficial soils at some sites on Mars, (11) high concentrations of heavy metals in martian soils, (12) likely acidic conditions in martian fines, (13) high CO2 concentrations in the global atmosphere, and (14) perchlorate-rich soils. Despite these extreme conditions several studies have demonstrated that dormant spores or vegetative cells of terrestrial microorganisms can survive simulated martian conditions as long as they are protected from UV irradiation. What has not been explored in depth are the effects of potential biotoxic geochemical components of the martian regolith on the survival and growth of microorganisms. The primary objectives of the research included: (1) prepare and characterize Mars analog soils amended with potential biotoxic levels of sulfates, salts, acidifying minerals, etc.; and (2) use the simulants to conduct biotoxicity assays to determine if terrestrial microorganisms from spacecraft can survive direct exposure to the analog soils.

  12. An alkaline spring system within the Del Puerto ophiolite (California USA): A Mars analog site

    SciTech Connect

    Blank, J.G.; Green, S.; Blake, D.; Valley, J.; Kita, N.; Treiman, A.; Dobson, P.F.

    2008-10-01

    Mars appears to have experienced little compositional differentiation of primitive lithosphere, and thus much of the surface of Mars is covered by mafic lavas. On Earth, mafic and ultramafic rocks present in ophiolites, oceanic crust and upper mantle that have been obducted onto land, are therefore good analogs for Mars. The characteristic mineralogy, aqueous geochemistry, and microbial communities of cold-water alkaline springs associated with these mafic and ultramafic rocks represent a particularly compelling analog for potential life-bearing systems. Serpentinization, the reaction of water with mafic minerals such as olivine and pyroxene, yields fluids with unusual chemistry (Mg-OH and Ca-OH waters with pH values up to {approx}12), as well as heat and hydrogen gas that can sustain subsurface, chemosynthetic ecosystems. The recent observation of seeps from pole-facing crater and canyon walls in the higher Martian latitudes supports the hypothesis that even present conditions might allow for a rockhosted chemosynthetic biosphere in near-surface regions of the Martian crust. The generation of methane within a zone of active serpentinization, through either abiogenic or biogenic processes, could account for the presence of methane detected in the Martian atmosphere. For all of these reasons, studies of terrestrial alkaline springs associated with mafic and ultramafic rocks are particularly timely. This study focuses on the alkaline Adobe Springs, emanating from mafic and ultramafic rocks of the California Coast Range, where a community of novel bacteria is associated with the precipitation of Mg-Ca carbonate cements. The carbonates may serve as a biosignature that could be used in the search for evidence of life on Mars.

  13. Biotoxicity of Mars Analog Soils: Microbial, Dispersal into Desiccated Soils Versus Emplacement in Salt or Ice Inclusions Fluids

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, Doutlas W.; Golden, D. C.

    2010-01-01

    Recent evidence from the Opportunity and Spirit rovers and the Mars Express mission suggests that the soils on Mars might be very high in biotoxic materials including sulfate salts, chlorides, and acidifying agents. Yet, very little is known about how the chemistries of Mars soils might affect the survival and growth of terrestrial microorganisms. The primary objectives of the research included: (1) prepare and characterize Mars analog soils amended with potential biotoxic levels of sulfates, chlorides, and acidifying minerals; and (2) use the simulants to conduct a series of toxicology assays to determine if terrestrial microorganisms from spacecraft can survive direct exposure to the biotoxic soils.

  14. Experimental Acid Weathering of Fe-Bearing Mars Analog Minerals and Rocks: Implications for Aqueous Origin of Hematite-Bearing Sediments in Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Koster, A. M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Mertzman, S. A.

    2011-01-01

    A working hypothesis for Meridiani evaporite formation involves the evaporation of fluids derived from acid weathering of Martian basalts and subsequent diagenesis [1, 2]. However, there are no reported experimental studies for the formation of jarosite and gray hematite (spherules), which are characteristic of Meridiani rocks from Mars analog precursor minerals. A terrestrial analog for hematite spherule formation from basaltic rocks under acidic hydrothermal conditions has been reported [3], and we have previously shown that the hematite spherules and jarosite can be synthetically produced in the laboratory using Fe3+ -bearing sulfate brines under hydrothermal conditions [4]. Here we expand and extend these studies by reacting Mars analog minerals with sulfuric acid to form Meridiani-like rock-mineral compositions. The objective of this study is to provide environmental constraints on past aqueous weathering of basaltic materials on Mars.

  15. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrate and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O and adsorbed H2O. The spectal character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micrometers, 2.2 micrometers, 2.7 micrometers, 3 micrometers, and 6 micrometers are reported here in spetra measured under Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stonger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micrometer feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3- micrometer band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micromter band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural

  16. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrite and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O, and adsorbed H2O. The spectral character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micron, 2.2 micron, 2.7 micron, 3 micron, and 6 microns are reported here in spectra measured under a Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stronger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micron feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3-micron band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micron band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural OH features observed in these materials

  17. Perchlorate and volatiles of the brine of Lake Vida (Antarctica): Implication for the in situ analysis of Mars sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kenig, Fabien; Chou, Luoth; McKay, Christopher P.; Jackson, W. Andrew; Doran, Peter T.; Murray, Alison E.; Fritsen, Christian H.

    2016-07-01

    The cold (-13.4°C), cryoencapsulated, anoxic, interstitial brine of the >27 m thick ice of Lake Vida (Victoria Valley, Antarctica) contains 49 µg · L-1 of perchlorate and 11 µg · L-1 of chlorate. Lake Vida brine (LVBr) may provide an analog for potential oxychlorine-rich subsurface brine on Mars. LVBr volatiles were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with two different SPME fibers. With the exception of volatile organic sulfur compounds, most other volatiles observed were artifacts produced in the GC injector when the thermal decomposition products of oxychlorines reacted with reduced carbon derived from LVBr and the SPME fiber phases. Analysis of MilliQ water with perchlorate (40 µg · L-1) showed low level of organic artifacts, reflecting carbon limitation. In order to observe sample-derived organic compounds, both in analog samples and on Mars, the molar abundance of reduced carbon in a sample must exceed those of O2 and Cl2 produced during decomposition of oxychlorines. This suggests that the abundance of compounds observed by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments in Sheepbed samples (CB-3, CB5, and CB6) may be controlled by an increase in the reduced-carbon/oxychlorine ratio of these samples. To increase chances of in situ detection of Martian organics during pyrolysis-GC-MS, we propose that the derivatization agents stored on SAM may be used as an external source of reduced carbon, increasing artificially the reduced-carbon to perchlorate ratio during pyrolysis, allowing the expression of more abundant and perhaps more diverse Martian organic matter.

  18. Cerro Negro, Nicaragua: A key Mars Analog Environment for Acid-Sulfate Weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hynek, B. M.; Rogers, K. L.; McCollom, T. M.

    2008-12-01

    Sulfate-rich bedrock has been discovered in many locations on Mars and has been studied by both orbiting spacecraft and landers. It appears that in most cases these minerals are produced by acid-sulfate weathering of igneous rocks, which may have been a widespread process for the first billion years of Mars' history. The origin of life on Earth may have occurred in iron-sulfur hydrothermal settings and it is conceivable that early Mars had similar environmental conditions. An excellent terrestrial analog for acid- sulfate weathering of Mars-like basalts exists at Cerro Negro (CN), Nicaragua, where sulfur-bearing gases interact with recently erupted basaltic ash in numerous fumaroles. To date, we have made two expeditions to CN to assess the chemical, mineralogical, and biological conditions. At the fumaroles pH ranges from <1 to 5 and temperatures range from 40 to 400° C. Basalts with a chemical composition very similar to those on Mars are being chemically altered in the solfatara setting. In a few years, freshly erupted basalt can be converted into predominately Ca-, Mg-, and Fe-sulfates, Fe-hydroxides (including jarosite), clays, and free silica. Altered rocks have up to 30 wt% SO3 equivalent, which is similar to the Meridiani Planum bedrocks and inferred in other sulfate-bearing bedrock on Mars. Moreover, heavily weathered rocks have silica contents up to 80 wt%, similar to silica-rich soils at Gusev Crater that possibly formed in hydrothermal environments. Samples were collected for biological analysis including enrichment and isolation of novel thermophiles as well as molecular characterization of thermophile diversity. The low water and nutrient levels found in solfatara environments lead to less biomass when compared to hot springs with similar geochemical conditions. Nonetheless, microbes are thriving in these hot, acidic vent environments. At Cerro Negro solfatara, we are characterizing the metabolic and phylogenetic diversity of resident microbial

  19. Medical preparedness, incidents, and group dynamics during the analog MARS2013 mission.

    PubMed

    Luger, T J; Stadler, A; Gorur, P; Terlevic, R; Neuner, J; Simonsen, O; Sansone, P; Toferer, E; Luger, M F; Winter, E; Beck, T

    2014-05-01

    Participants on spaceflights and international scientific analog Mars missions can encounter medical incidents (accidents, illnesses) and psychological issues (e.g., stress, group interaction, sleep disturbance, emotions). The aim of this study was to examine these parameters in a field crew living in a desert environment similar to Mars (Group 1) and in Mission Support Center (MSC) personnel on "Earth" (Group 2) during a 4-week mission. Of the 107 medical interventions in the field, 73 mainly minor incidents together with four near accidents and 29 medical checkup interventions were recorded. Of the 32 medical interventions, medical treatments for 23 incidents of minor severity were necessary in Group 2. Injuries (Group 1: 1.4/100 h, Group 2: 0.1/100 h) were significantly increased in the field, and illnesses (Group 1: 0.3/100 h, Group 2: 3.0/100 h) in the MSC personnel. Causes of accidents and illnesses are described. Psychological results show that emotions and stress remained stable in both groups. Sympathy, social competence, teamwork, and leadership showed high scores. These scores were lower on "Earth" but significantly increased in the last weeks. The Sahara's nighttime coldness was reflected in an increased wake-up frequency, and a longer sleeping time peaked in the third week, probably as a result of overfatigue. MARS2013 was a successful mission with highly motivated participants and minor medical incidents. For future analog missions and possibly long-distance open-space missions, some recommendations in terms of medical and psychological preparedness are made to reduce risks for field crew members and MSC personnel. PMID:24823803

  20. Identifying and Interpreting Stratification in Sedimentary Rocks on Mars: Insight from Rover and Orbital Observations and Terrestrial Field Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edgar, Lauren A.

    Sedimentary rocks on Mars provide insight into past aqueous and atmospheric processes, climate regimes, and potential habitability. The stratigraphic architecture of sedimentary rocks on Mars is similar to that of Earth, indicating that the processes that govern deposition and erosion on Mars can be reasonably inferred through reference to analogous terrestrial systems. This dissertation aims to understand Martian surface processes through the use of (1) ground-based observations from the Mars Exploration Rovers, (2) orbital data from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and (3) the use of terrestrial field analogs to understand bedforms and sediment transport on Mars. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the history of aqueous activity at Meridiani Planum, through the reconstruction of eolian bedforms at Victoria crater, and the identification of a potential mudstone facies at Santa Maria crater. Chapter 3 uses Terrestrial Laser Scanning to study cross-bedding in pyroclastic surge deposits on Earth in order to understand sediment transport in these events and to establish criteria for their identification on Mars. The final chapter analyzes stratal geometries in the Martian North Polar Layered Deposits using tools for sequence stratigraphic analysis, to better constrain past surface processes and past climate conditions on Mars.

  1. Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE): An Experimental Demonstration of Key Technologies for Searching for Life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol

    2004-01-01

    The discovery of near surface ground ice by the Mars Odyssey mission and the abundant evidence for recent Gulley features observed by the Mars Global Surveyor mission support longstanding theoretical arguments for subsurface liquid water on Mars. Thus, implementing the Mars program goal to search for life points to drilling on Mars to reach liquid water, collecting samples and analyzing them with instrumentation to detect in situ organisms and biomarker compounds. Searching for life in the subsurface of Mars will require drilling, sample extraction and handling, and new technologies to find and identify biomarker compounds and search for living organisms.

  2. Antarctic lakes (above and beneath the ice sheet): Analogues for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rice, J. W., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    The perennial ice covered lakes of the Antarctic are considered to be excellent analogues to lakes that once existed on Mars. Field studies of ice covered lakes, paleolakes, and polar beaches were conducted in the Bunger Hills Oasis, Eastern Antarctica. These studies are extended to the Dry Valleys, Western Antarctica, and the Arctic. Important distinctions were made between ice covered and non-ice covered bodies of water in terms of the geomorphic signatures produced. The most notable landforms produced by ice covered lakes are ice shoved ridges. These features form discrete segmented ramparts of boulders and sediments pushed up along the shores of lakes and/or seas. Sub-ice lakes have been discovered under the Antarctic ice sheet using radio echo sounding. These lakes occur in regions of low surface slope, low surface accumulations, and low ice velocity, and occupy bedrock hollows. The presence of sub-ice lakes below the Martian polar caps is possible. The discovery of the Antarctic sub-ice lakes raises possibilities concerning Martian lakes and exobiology.

  3. Biotoxicity of Mars soils: 1. Dry deposition of analog soils on microbial colonies and survival under Martian conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Golden, D. C.; Ming, Doug W.

    2012-11-01

    Six Mars analog soils were created to simulate a range of potentially biotoxic geochemistries relevant to the survival of terrestrial microorganisms on Mars, and included basalt-only (non-toxic control), salt, acidic, alkaline, aeolian, and perchlorate rich geochemistries. Experiments were designed to simulate the dry-deposition of Mars soils onto spacecraft surfaces during an active descent landing scenario with propellant engines. Six eubacteria were initially tested for tolerance to desiccation, and the spore-former Bacillus subtilis HA101 and non-spore former Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212 were identified to be strongly resistant (HA101) and moderately resistant (29212) to desiccation at 24 °C. Furthermore, tests with B. subtilis and E. faecalis demonstrated that at least 1 mm of Mars analog soil was required to fully attenuate the biocidal effects of a simulated Mars-normal equatorial UV flux. Biotoxicity experiments were conducted under simulated Martian conditions of 6.9 mbar, -10 °C, CO2-enriched anoxic atmosphere, and a simulated equatorial solar spectrum (200-1100 nm) with an optical depth of 0.1. For B. subtilis, the six analog soils were found, in general, to be of low biotoxicity with only the high salt and acidic soils exhibiting the capacity to inactivate a moderate number of spores (<1 log reductions) exposed 7 days to the soils under simulated Martian conditions. In contrast, the overall response of E. faecalis to the analog soils was more dramatic with between two and three orders of magnitude reductions in viable cells for most soils, and between six and seven orders of magnitude reductions observed for the high-salt soil. Results suggest that Mars soils are likely not to be overtly biotoxic to terrestrial microorganisms, and suggest that the soil geochemistries on Mars will not preclude the habitability of the Martian surface.

  4. Two Distinct Secondary Carbonate Species in OC Meteorites from Antarctica are Possible Analogs for Mars Carbonates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Evans, M. E.; Niles, P. B.; Locke, D. R.; Chapman, P.

    2016-01-01

    Meteorites falling in Antarctica are captured in ice and stored until the glacial flow transports them to the surface where they can be collected. Prior to collection, they are altered during interactions between the rock, the cryosphere, and the hydrosphere. The purpose of this study is to characterize the stable isotope values of terrestrial, secondary carbonate minerals from Ordinary Chondrite (OC) meteorites collected in Antarctica. This facilitates better understanding of terrestrial weathering in martian meteorites as well as mechanisms for weathering in cold, arid environments as an analog to Mars. OC samples were selected for analysis based upon size and collection proximity to known martian meteorites. They were also selected based on petrologic type (3+) such that they were likely to be carbonate-free before falling to Earth.

  5. Evolution of halophiles: A terrestrial analog for life in Brines on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancinelli, R.

    2003-04-01

    regarding the survival of halophiles in permafrost, in evaporites and freeze thaw cycles suggest that these types of organisms may serve as a terrestrial analog to the last vestiges of life on Mars.

  6. Using analog field and sample data to understand remote data of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, Shawn

    2015-04-01

    The primary geologic processes on Mars are basaltic volcanism, sedimentation, impact cratering, and alteration. All potentially create amorphous materials and complex mineralogies, and these must be measured by rovers sent to Mars to characterize the geology. This paper addresses the field measurements and sample analyses of a terrestrial analog impact crater to interpret rover and perhaps orbital data of Mars. Motivation: OMEGA and CRISM have shown alteration minerals in Martian ejecta blankets. These phyllosilicates may represent altered crust that was excavated, and only exposed, by the impact, or could represent ejecta that was altered in part during impact or fractured/fragmented material that was altered at higher rate than surrounding terrain after ejecta emplacement. Study Site and Geologic History: Lonar Crater, India is a young (~570 ka), ~1.8 km impact site emplaced in ~65 Ma Deccan basalt, which is an excellent analog material for Mars with ~45-50% labradorite and ~35% augite/pigeonite before lower flows were altered and then excavated and/or shocked. Pre-impact stratigraphy was not complex: 3 flows of fresh basalt overlying 3 flows of aqueously-altered basalt, and both are found as impact breccia clasts in a ~8 m thick lithic (unshocked, "throw out") and ~1 m suevite (all ranges of shock pressure, "fall out") breccia units in the ejecta. Two geologic histories for shocked clasts in the Lonar suevite breccia are compared: 1.) the alteration of impactites (impact glasses and melts) of a range of shock pressures ("post-impact alteration"), which likely increase the rate of alteration and affects the order of alteration where compared to pristine, igneous minerals, and 2.) the existence of altered basalt protoliths ("pre-impact alteration") now vitrified as in-situ breccia clasts or float. Both of these geologic histories and their alteration pathways are compared to those of unshocked fresh and unshocked altered basalts found in the lithic breccia and

  7. Licancabur 2002 High-Altitude Expedition: Exploring the Environment and the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Chong, G.; McKay, C. P.; Friedmann, I.; Demergasso, C.; Ocampo-Friedmann, R.; Kiss, K. T.; Grigorsky, I.; Murbach, M. S.; Hock, A.; Fike, D.; Devore, E.; Grisby, B.

    2002-12-01

    The 5916 m-high Licancabur volcano (Chile/Bolivia) hosts the highest and one of the least explored lakes in the world. At this altitude, the environment combines low-oxygen, high-UV radiation, and low atmospheric pressure (~470 mb). While the lake is ice-covered during part of the year, its bottom water temperature remains above freezing year-round. Despite these extreme conditions, a lacustrine planktonic fauna is thriving. A NASA Ames/SETI Institute-led expedition in collaboration with the Universidad Catolic… de Norte (Antofagasta, Chile) has initiated in 2002 a multi-year project through high-altitude mountaineering and diving. The overall goal is to document this environment which provides an exceptional analog to ancient martian lakes through various approaches including geology, biology, physics, and robotics. The objectives are to: (1) explore and document the Licancabur lake and understand the foundation and survival strategies of its ecosystem still mostly unknown to date; (2) Collect and interpret data that will provide a better understanding of the limits of life on Earth and will help envision potential survival strategies for life on Mars in past analogous enviroments; and (3) develop technologies, instruments and mission strategies to robotically explore these martian paleo-environments and seek for possible traces of past life activity. This presentation focuses on the 2002 expedition results: (a) the environment of the lake, including: the survey of the volcanic structure and crater depression; the search for possible thermal source(s) or other processes maintaining the lake bottom waters at positive temperatures throughout the year; the nature and characteristics of the lake sediments and their stratification; the water column distribution and circulation process; and the variation of the lake volume; (b) the physical environment, including: variation of surface and water temperatures, and variation of UV radiations and oxygen; and (c) the

  8. Fast-Turnoff Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) Field Study at the Mars Analog Site of Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2005-03-01

    This report describes a Fast-Turnoff Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) study at the Peña de Hierro ("Berg of Iron") field area of the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE), near the towns Rio Tinto and Nerva, Andalucia region, Spain.

  9. McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica - A Mars Phoenix Mission Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tamppari, L. K.; Anderson, R. M.; Archer, D.; Douglas, S.; Kounaves, S. P.; McKay, C. P.; Ming, Douglas W.; Moore, Q.; Quinn, J. E.; Smith, P. H.; Stroble, S.; Zent, A. P.

    2010-01-01

    The Phoenix mission (PHX; May 25 - Nov. 2, 2008) studied the north polar region of Mars (68deg N) to understand the history of water and potential for habitability. Phoenix carried with it a wet chemistry lab (WCL) capable of determining the basic solution chemistry of the soil and the pH value, a thermal and evolved-gas analyzer capable of determining the mineralogy of the soil and detecting ice, microscopes capable of seeing soil particle shapes, sizes and colors at very high resolution, and a soil probe (TECP) capable of detecting unfrozen water in the soil. PHX coincided with an international effort to study the Earth s polar regions named the International Polar Year (IPY; 2007-2008). The best known Earth analog to the Martian high-northern plains, where Phoenix landed, are the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), Antarctica (Fig. 1). Thus, the IPY afforded a unique opportunity to study the MDV with the same foci - history of water and habitability - as PHX. In austral summer 2007, our team took engineering models of WCL and TECP into the MDV and performed analgous measurements. We also collected sterile samples and analyzed them in our home laboratories using state-of-the-art tools. While PHX was not designed to perform biologic analyses, we were able to do so with the MDV analog samples collected.

  10. Spectral identification of chemisorbed CO2 and application to Mars analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Roush, T. L.

    1992-01-01

    The goal of this work is to identify the spectral signature of chemisorbed CO2, to test the efficacy of carbonate formation on Mars-analog materials via CO2 chemisorption, and to identify the surface-chemical characteristics of good chemisorbents, with the intent of assessing the possible geochemical importance of CO2 chemisorption as a quasipermanent CO2 sink in the Martian environment. Our approach is to search for infrared spectral bands that result from chemisorption of CO2 molecules onto chemical reagents and Mars-analog materials, and to identify the salient differences in adsorbents that favor strong, permanent CO2 chemisorption. The total amount of CO2 in the early Martian atmosphere, and consequent surface temperatures, are unknown. A CO2 greenhouse may not have been an adequate mechanism under any circumstances; however, it if were, then most of that CO2 must still be in the near-surface environment; no escape mechanism that could remove it after the decline of channeling has been identified. The only plausible reservoir is carbonate, and there are various remote sensing techniques that can be used to search for it. We are investigating CO2 chemisorption as a permanent CO2 sink, and to aid in interpretation of remotely sensed IR spectra of Mars. A common effect reported in CO2 adsorption studies is the formation of a layer of carbonate or bicarbonate anions on adsorbents that have OH- groups available on their surfaces. Inorganic hydroxyls occur on phyllosilicates, amorphous silicates, metal oxides and hydroxides; it is the most abundant and reactive surface functional group on the surfaces of terrestrial silicates. The process responsible for the reaction is chemisorption. Chemisorption is distinguished from physical adsorption in that there is a transfer of electrons between species, and the formation of a chemical bond. The heat of chemisorption is typically of the same order as heats of chemical reaction (i.e., a few hundred to a few thousand k

  11. Ophiolites and Gas Seeps as Terrestrial Analogs for Methane Origin and Degassing on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoell, M.; Etiope, G.

    2010-12-01

    If confirmed, the recently-discovered methane (CH4) plume on Mars, in the Northern Summer of 2003, would reflect an emission of ~ 19 x103 tonnes y-1 and possibly even ~ 57 x104 tonnes y-1. Serpentinization in ophiolitic rocks is one of the main processes that are inferred for the origin of methane on Mars. Ophiolites or, hydrated mineral-bearing rocks in general on Earth could serve as analogs. So far, however, most of these “analog” studies focused on mineralogical and microbiological processes associated to ophiolitic environments. Analog studies specifically dealing with methane emissions to the Earth’s surface are missing. One of the observations of Mars methane is the transient release of large amounts of methane in a relatively short period, probably a few months. This would imply the existence of a mechanism of gas accumulations in the subsurface and episodic release to the surface. Such release mechanisms may be similar to certain weak and intermittent gas seeps or small mud volcanoes on Earth, rather than to steady, continuous degassing of methane from mineral reactions. Currently, it is not clear whether low-temperature serpentinization can be an abiogenic methane “kitchen” where methane might be generated fast enough to sustain vigorous and long-lasting seeps. In cases of fluxes of the order of several tonnes per year, a pressurized accumulation must exist. In case of lower fluxes, probably gas accumulations are not necessary and low temperature serpentinization can be fast enough to charge episodic seeps. These concepts are fundamental to our understanding of potential sources for the martian methane, and they need to be studied with the support of analog seepage data on Earth. Two examples are presented: (1) a case of terrestrial abiogenic CH4 seepage from ophiolitic rocks at the “eternal fires of Chimaera” in Turkey. Estimated flux data from the abiogenic gas seep of Chimaera in Turkey (>20 tonnes of CH4 per year) suggest a great

  12. Saline Playas on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as Mars Analog for the Formation-Preservation of Hydrous Salts and Biosignatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, A.; Zheng, M.; Kong, F.; Sobron, P.; Mayer, D. P.

    2010-12-01

    Qinghai-Tibet (QT) Plateau has the highest average elevation on Earth (~ 4500 m, about 50-60% of atmospheric pressure at sea-level). The high elevation induces a tremendous diurnal (and seasonal) temperature swing caused by high level of solar irradiation during the day and low level of atmospheric insulation during the evening. In addition, the Himalaya mountain chain (average height >6100 m) in the south of the QT Plateau largely blocks the pathway of humid air from the Indian Ocean, and produces a Hyperarid region (Aridity Index, AI ~ 0.04), the Qaidam Basin (N32-35, E90-100) at the north edge of the QT Plateau. Climatically, the low P, T, large ΔT, high aridity, and high UV radiation all make the Qaidam basin to be one of the most similar places on Earth to Mars. Qaidam basin has the most ancient playas (up to Eocene) and the lakes with the highest salinity on QT Plateau. More importantly, Mg-sulfates appear in the evaporative salts within the most ancient playas (Da Langtang) at the northwest corner of Qaidam basin, which mark the final stage of the evaporation sequence of brines rich in K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, C, B, S, and Cl. The evaporation minerals in the saline playas of Qaidam basin, their alteration and preservation under hyperarid conditions can be an interesting analog for the study of Martian salts and salty regolith. We conducted a field investigation at Da Langtan playa in Qaidam basin, with combined remote sensing (ASTER on board of NASA’s Terra satellite, 1.656, 2.167, 2.209, 2.62, 2.336, 2.40 µm), in situ sensing of a portable NIR spectrometer (WIR, 1.25-2.5 µm continuous spectral range), and the laboratory analyses of collected samples from the field (ASD spectrometer, 0.4 -2.5 µm, and Laser Raman spectroscopy). The results indicate that the materials contributing the high albedo layers in playa deposits are carbonate-gypsum-bearing surface soils, salt-clay-bearing exhaumed Pleistocene deposits, dehydrated Na-sulfates, hydrous Mg

  13. Impact of Diagenesis on Biosignature Preservation Potential in Playa Lake Evaporites in Verde Formation, Arizona: Implications for Mars Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shkolyar, S.; Farmer, J. D.

    2015-12-01

    Major priorities for Mars science include assessing the preservation potential and impact of diagenesis on biosignature preservation in aqueous sedimentary environments. We address these priorities with field and lab studies of playa evaporites of the Verde Formation (upper Pliocene) in Arizona. Evaporites studied include bottom-nucleated halite and displacive growth gypsum in magnesite-rich mudstone. These lithotypes are potential analogs for ancient lacustrine habitable environments on Mars. This study aimed to understand organic matter preservation potential under different diagenetic histories. Methods combined outcrop-scale field observations and lab analyses, including: (1) thin-section petrography to understand diagenetic processes and paragenesis; (2) X-ray powder diffraction to obtain bulk mineralogy; (3) Raman spectroscopy to identify and place phases (and kerogenous fossil remains) within a microtextural context; (4) Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyses to estimate weight percentages of preserved organic carbon for each subfacies endmember; and (5) electron microprobe to create 2D kerogen maps semi-quantifying kerogen preservation in each subfacies. Results revealed complex diagenetic histories for each evaporite subfacies and pathways for organic matter preservation. Secondary gypsum grew displacively within primary playa lake mudstones during early diagenesis. Mudstones then experienced cementation by Mg-carbonates. Displacive-growth gypsum was sometimes dissolved, forming crystal molds. These molds were later either infilled by secondary sulfates or recrystallized to gypsum pseudomorphs with minor phases present (i.e., glauberite). These observations helped define taphonomic models for organic matter preservation in each subfacies. This work has the potential to inform in situ target identification, sampling strategies, and data interpretations for future Mars Sample Return missions (e.g., sample caching strategies for NASA's Mars 2020 mission).

  14. Lessons from studies of impact crater hydrothermal processes in terrestrial analogs and their implications for impact craters on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newsom, H. E.

    2011-12-01

    ), producing alteration zones that are spatially limited. For Mars therefore, where will evidence of impact hydrothermal processes be found? A) Extensive hydrothermal alteration requires large craters (>20 km diam.), with heat from basement uplift, and the presence of shocked and melted material in crater fill and ejecta. B) Assuming water is available from precipitation, ice, or groundwater, hydrothermal fluids can be generated in impact melt sheets, melt-bearing ejecta, and central uplifts. C) Hydrothermal fluids can contribute to the formation of impact crater lakes with accompanying precipitation of evaporites and alteration of materials on the lake floors. D) Hydrothermal fluids derived from hot central uplifts and melt sheets may also migrate into porous megabreccias and faulted rocks associated with crater walls and central uplifts leading to formation or precipitation of alteration minerals. C) Outside of large craters or basins, alteration of melt-bearing ejecta can occur if the ejecta is relatively thick (> 100 m), and water is available. In conclusion, based on terrestrial analog studies, impact hydrothermal processes are a plausible explanation for the alteration phases observed in association with Martian craters.

  15. Evolved Gas Analysis and X-Ray Diffraction of Carbonate Samples from the 2009 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Mineralogical Inferences from the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Ming, D. W.; Franz, H. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Steele, A.

    2010-01-01

    The 2009 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated several geologic settings using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return (MSR). AMASE-related research comprises both analyses conducted during the expedition and further analyses of collected samples using laboratory facilities at a variety of institutions. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite, which will be part of the Analytical Laboratory on MSL, consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS). An Evolved Gas Analysis Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) was used during AMASE to represent part of the capabilities of SAM. The other instrument included in the MSL Analytical Laboratory is CheMin, which uses X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during the AMASE 2009. Here, we discuss the preliminary interpretation of EGA and XRD analyses of selected AMASE carbonate samples and implications for mineralogical interpretations from MSL. Though CheMin will be the primary mineralogical tool on MSL, SAM EGA could be used to support XRD identifications or indicate the presence of volatile-bearing minerals which may be near or below XRD detection limits. Data collected with instruments in the field and in comparable laboratory setups (e.g., the SAM breadboard) will be discussed.

  16. RIS4E at Kilauea's December 1974 (D1974) Flow: Establishing the D1974 Flow as an Ideal Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, K. E.; Bleacher, J. E.; Rogers, D.; McAdam, A.; Garry, W. B.; Scheidt, S. P.; Carter, L. M.; Glotch, T. D.

    2015-12-01

    The Kīlauea December 1974 (D1974) flow was emplaced from a series of en echelon fissures southwest of Kīlauea Caldera. In 6.5 hours the D1974 flow was emplaced over the Keanakāko`i ash member as a rapidly emplaced sheet flow. This flow has previously been used as a location for radar roughness studies due to the exposure of abrupt changes in surface texture ranging between smooth pāhoehoe, rubbly and slabby lavas and ´áā lava. When viewed in visible remote sensing images, this flow field displays dark and light toned areas that reveal sinuous patterns, streamlined islands, and rafted lava slabs and plates. The flow is an ideal location to study lava textures, textural relationships and the formation of non-traditional channels and associated features as analogs to characterizing the formation of channel networks on the flanks of martian volcanoes or rilles in the lunar mare. The D1974 flow is also positioned downwind from Kīlauea Caldera along the volcano's SW rift zone. D1974 lavas flowed across older, active fumaroles and have since been exposed to acid fog, rain, and other plume related processes. In 2008 the Kīlauea Caldera experienced an explosive event along the wall of Halemáumáu and has since displayed an active lava lake, thereby elevating the flow's exposure to processes related to volcanic gasses. Alteration products have therefore formed both in and around the older fumaroles (at the solfatara site) as well as being deposited as thin coatings over the entire length of the flow. These products are reminiscent of sulfate-rich materials that have been identified on Mars by several groups. Though these martian deposits have been identified and analyzed, their formation mechanism remains somewhat ambiguous. The D1974 flow represents an ideal analog with which to test various formation scenarios using a variety of field portable technologies, designed to analyze the alteration products in situ (thereby preserving their initial structures and

  17. Ultramafic Terranes and Associated Springs as Analogs for Mars and Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blake, David; Schulte, Mitch; Cullings, Ken; DeVincezi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Putative extinct or extant Martian organisms, like their terrestrial counterparts, must adopt metabolic strategies based on the environments in which they live. In order for organisms to derive metabolic energy from the natural environment (Martian or terrestrial), a state of thermodynamic disequilibrium must exist. The most widespread environment of chemical disequilibrium on present-day Earth results from the interaction of mafic rocks of the ocean crust with liquid water. Such environments were even more pervasive and important on the Archean Earth due to increased geothermal heat flow and the absence of widespread continental crust formation. The composition of the lower crust and upper mantle of the Earth is essentially the-same as that of Mars, and the early histories of these two planets are similar. It follows that a knowledge of the mineralogy, water-rock chemistry and microbial ecology of Earth's oceanic crust could be of great value in devising a search strategy for evidence of past or present life on Mars. In some tectonic regimes, cross-sections of lower oceanic crust and upper mantle are exposed on land as so-called "ophiolite suites." Such is the case in the state of California (USA) as a result of its location adjacent to active plate margins. These mafic and ultramafic rocks contain numerous springs that offer an easily accessible field laboratory for studying water/rock interactions and the microbial communities that are supported by the resulting geochemical energy. A preliminary screen of Archaean biodiversity was conducted in a cold spring located in a presently serpentinizing ultramafic terrane. PCR and phylogenetic analysis of partial 16s rRNA, sequences were performed on water and sediment samples. Archaea of recent phylogenetic origin were detected with sequences nearly identical to those of organisms living in ultra-high pH lakes of Africa.

  18. Basaltic caves at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve as analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hinman, N. W.; Richardson, C. D.; McHenry, L.; Scott, J. R.

    2010-12-01

    Basaltic caves and lava tubes offer stable physicochemical conditions for formation of secondary minerals. Such features, putatively observed on Mars, intercept groundwater to weather country rock, leading to formation of secondary minerals. Further, caves are stable environments to search for evidence of past life, as they could offer protection from the oxidizing martian atmosphere. Searching for signs of life in a cave that could protect bio/organic compounds would preclude the need for risky drilling on Mars. Craters of the Moon National Monument (COM) offers an opportunity to study caves in Holocene iron-rich basalt flows to characterize secondary mineral deposits and search for organic compounds associated with secondary minerals; COM basalts are a good analog for martian basalts because of their high iron but other elements are higher at COM than on Mars. The Blue Dragon flow (~2.1 ka) contains the majority of the accessible caves and lava tubes. Two types of secondary mineral deposits were observed in these caves: ceiling coatings and crack or floor precipitates. Hematite, silica, and calcite comprise ceiling coatings. The crack and floor precipitates are white, efflorescent deposits in cavities along cave walls and ceilings or in localized mounds on cave floors. The secondary minerals in crack and floor precipitates are mainly thenardite and mirabilite with some minor concentrations of trona and/or burkeite. Organic compounds were found associated with the efflorescent deposits. Formation of the deposits is likely due to chemical leaching of basalt by meteoritic water. To test this, fluids collected from the ceiling and walls of the caves were analyzed. Solutions were modeled with the geochemical code, PHREEQC. The model tracked composition as water evaporated. Selected minerals were allowed to precipitate as they became oversaturated. Among the first minerals to become oversaturated were quartz and calcite, which are observed in ceiling deposits. Iron

  19. An Igneous Origin for Features of a Candidate Crater-Lake System in Western Memnonia, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leverington, D. W.; Maxwell, T. A.

    2004-01-01

    The association of channels, inner terraces, and delta-like features with Martian impact craters has previously been interpreted as evidence in favor of the past existence of crater lakes on Mars. However, examination of a candidate crater-lake system in western Memnonia suggests instead that its features may have formed through igneous processes involving the flow and ponding of lava. Accumulations of material in craters and other topographic lows throughout much of the study region have characteristics consistent with those of volcanic deposits, and terraces found along the inner flanks of some of these craters are interpreted as having formed through drainage or subsidence of volcanic materials. Channels previously identified as inlets and outlets of the crater-lake system are interpreted instead as volcanic rilles. These results challenge previous interpretations of terrace and channel features in the study region and suggest that candidate crater lakes located elsewhere should be reexamined.

  20. Debris Flow Gullies at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Alaska: Implications for Analogous Features on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooper, D. M.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Mcginnis, R. N.; Smart, K. J.; Roberts, M.

    2011-12-01

    Debris flows with fresh-appearing gullies or erosion tracks occur on the slopes of several mid- to high-latitude dune fields in both Martian hemispheres. These features originate in alcoves near dune crests, become channelized down lee faces, and terminate with depositional fans. They bear a striking resemblance to small meltwater-induced debris flows observed on the lee slopes of large dunes at the 67 degrees N latitude Great Kobuk Sand Dunes (GKSD), Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska. The high-latitude, cold-climate GKSD are an optimal terrestrial system within which to conduct a Mars analog study focused on understanding the integrated factors that cause alluvial debris flows to initiate on the lee slopes of aeolian dunes. Debris flow processes in the GKSD are activated by seasonal thawing and consist of a mixture of sand and liquid water cascading down the dune slipface. A distinguishing environmental attribute that separates cold-climate dune fields from temperate and warm-climate dune fields is the seasonal and prolonged occurrence of snow and ice. Cold region dunes often include niveo-aeolian deposits composed of interbedded sand, snow, and ice. The GKSD are variably affected by snowcover for ~70% of each year, which likely has direct analogy to hydrocryospheric factors that influence debris flow development on Mars. Melting and/or sublimation of snow and ice during warm periods cause distinctive morphologic and sedimentologic phenomena ascribed as denivation features or forms, including spongy and hummocky surfaces, tensional cracks, deformed strata, slumping, and compressional structures. We observed small debris flows, niveo-aeolian deposits, and denivation features in the GKSD during fieldwork in March 2010. Wind-transported sand and snow accumulated on the lee slopes of large transverse, longitudinal, and barchanoid dunes. Snow banks with intercalated sand layers are especially prominent and thickest near the top of westward-facing lee slopes at the

  1. Contemporaneous deposition of phyllosilicates and sulfates: Using Australian acidic saline lake deposits to describe geochemical variability on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baldridge, A.M.; Hook, S.J.; Crowley, J.K.; Marion, G.M.; Kargel, J.S.; Michalski, J.L.; Thomson, B.J.; de Souza, Filho C.R.; Bridges, N.T.; Brown, A.J.

    2009-01-01

    Studies of the origin of the Martian sulfate and phyllosilicate deposits have led to the hypothesis that there was a marked, global-scale change in the Mars environment from circum-neutral pH aqueous alteration in the Noachian to an acidic evaporitic system in the late Noachian to Hesperian. However, terrestrial studies suggest that two different geochemical systems need not be invoked to explain such geochemical variation.Western Australian acidic playa lakes have large pH differences separated vertically and laterally by only a few tens of meters, demonstrating how highly variable chemistries can coexist over short distances in natural environments. We suggest diverse and variable Martian aqueous environments where the coetaneous formation of phyllosilicates and sulfates at the Australian sites are analogs for regions where phyllosilicates and sulfates coexist on Mars. In these systems, Fe and alkali earth phyllosilicates represent deep facies associated with upwelling neutral to alkaline groundwater, whereas aluminous phyllosilicates and sulfates represent near-surface evaporitic facies formed from more acidic brines. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

  2. Hematite ``Blueberry`` Concretion Doublet and Triplets on Mars: Iron Oxide Twin Analogs From Utah

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Parry, W. T.; Park, A. S.

    2005-12-01

    Spherical concretions on Earth and Mars comprise a record of diagenetic history that may not otherwise be preserved in the more common host rock. Hematite spherules of Meridiani Planum show some joined forms of twos and threes. Joined iron oxide concretions making doublets and triplets also occur in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, and can serve as an analog to understanding why joined forms occur on Mars. The geometries of in situ Utah examples suggest two processes for creating connected forms. In one concretion growth mechanism, occasional coalescing of single forms may result from the growth of doublets or triplets in overly close proximity (typically less than 15% of a population). Joined concretions of roughly equal sizes can be aligned in a row; unequal size concretions take on the shapes of ``snowmen``, or attached ``satellites``. Where cementation is pervasive, individual concretions may grow and coalesce into a lumpy layer or cemented mass along preferential flow paths or preferential nucleation sites. In the second mechanism, nearly all (more than 75%) of the concretions form doublets that are conjoined. The occurrence of dominant twins indicates that these concretions are not coincidental as in the first mechanism. Dominant twin concretions occur regularly and evenly throughout fairly homogeneous host rock. More unusual twins show additional small twin warts suggesting duplicated nucleation and precipitation. Normally, iron oxide concretion precipitation begins when the oxide saturation reaches a precipitation threshold. Precipitation produces chemical gradients, and competition between reaction and diffusion rates determines the spacing between concretions. These factors in combination with reactant supply, competitive growth phenomena and a complex self-organizing processes may contribute to development of internal structure with varying layers of iron-depleted zones to resistant iron-cemented shells. The pervasive nature of sandstone

  3. Combustion of organic matter in Mars analogs using SAM-like techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, J. C.; McAdam, A.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Steele, A.

    2012-12-01

    The combustion experiment on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on Curiosity will heat a sample of Mars regolith in the presence of oxygen and measure the carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) of the evolved CO2 using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). The degree to which the δ13C of the sample is representative of any organic carbon present depends on a) whether complete combustion has been achieved, and b) the simultaneous presence of inorganic, or mineralogical carbon in the sample, and our ability to quantify its contribution to the bulk δ13C. To optimize and characterize combustion of a variety of organic molecules in a range of rock matrices, combustion experiments simulating those to be performed on SAM were conducted at NASA Goddard. CO2 gas generated by heating Mars analogs in a SAM-like oven in the presence of oxygen on a laboratory breadboard was captured and analyzed via IRMS for δ13C. These values were compared to bulk and total organic carbon (TOC) abundance and δ13C values using commercial flash combustion EA- IRMS techniques to determine whether quantitative conversion of reduced carbon to CO2 was achieved. Factors contributing to incomplete combustion and isotopic fractionation include structural complexity of reduced organics, their thermal decomposition temperatures, and mineral-organic associations. An additional consideration must be made for unintentional combustion by oxidizing salts (perchlorates), which may partially or totally oxidize reduced organic compounds to CO2, depending on soil perchlorate concentration, sample matrix, and how refractory the organics are. Thus, to investigate the oxidizing potential of a salt known to exist on the Martian surface, laboratory breadboard experiments heating simple and complex organics in the presence of Mg perchlorate were performed using a SAM-like oven coupled to a Hiden Mass Spectrometer and gas collection manifold. Samples were heated in the absence and presence of Mg perchlorate to

  4. Classification and analysis of candidate impact crater-hosted closed-basin lakes on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goudge, Timothy A.; Aureli, Kelsey L.; Head, James W.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Mustard, John F.

    2015-11-01

    We present a new catalog of 205 candidate closed-basin lakes contained within impact craters across the surface of Mars. These basins have an inlet valley that incises the crater rim and flows into the basin but no visible outlet valley, and are considered candidate closed-basin lakes; the presence of a valley flowing into a basin does not necessitate the formation of a standing body of water. The major geomorphic distinction within our catalog of candidate paleolakes is the length of the inlet valley(s), with two major classes - basins with long (>20 km) inlet valleys (30 basins), and basins with short (<20 km) inlet valleys (175 basins). We identify 55 basins that contain sedimentary fan deposits at the mouths of their inlet valleys, of which nine are fed by long inlet valleys and 46 are fed by short inlet valleys. Analysis of the mineralogy of these fan deposits suggests that they are primarily composed of detrital material. Additionally, we find no evidence for widespread evaporite deposit formation within our catalog of candidate closed-basin lakes, which we conclude is indicative of a general transience for any lakes that did form within these basins. Morphometric characteristics for our catalog indicate that as an upper limit, these basins represent a volume of water equivalent to a ∼1.2 m global equivalent layer (GEL) of water spread evenly across the martian surface; this is a small fraction of the modern water ice reservoir on Mars. Our catalog offers a broader context within which results from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover can be interpreted, as Gale crater is a candidate closed-basin lake contained within our catalog. Gale is also one of 12 closed-basin lakes fed by both long and short inlet valleys, and so in␣situ analyses by Curiosity can shed light on the relative importance of these two types of inlets for any lacustrine activity within the basin.

  5. Low temperature production and exhalation of methane from serpentinized rocks on Earth: A potential analog for methane production on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etiope, Giuseppe; Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Schoell, Martin

    2013-06-01

    We evaluate, based on terrestrial analogs, the potential flux, origin and isotopic signature of methane (CH4) from serpentinized or serpentinizing rocks on Mars. The Tekirova ophiolites, in Turkey, have been shown to release, either via focused vents or through diffuse microseepage, substantial amounts of CH4 which could be produced via catalyzed abiotic methanation (Sabatier reaction) at low temperatures (<50 °C). Serpentinized ultramafic rocks on Mars are likely to have necessary chemical constituents for methane production and fractures for release of gas to the atmosphere, similar to those on Earth. A simple, first-order estimation gas-advection model suggests that methane fluxes on the order of several mg m-2 d-1, similar to microseepage observed in terrestrial ophiolites, could occur in martian rocks. High temperature, hydrothermal conditions may not be necessary for abiotic CH4 synthesis on Mars: low temperature (<50 °C) methanation is possible in the presence of catalysts like ruthenium, rhodium or, more commonly, chromium minerals, which occur in terrestrial ophiolites as in martian mantle meteorites. The terrestrial analog environment of abiotic microseepage may thus explain production of methane on Mars in the ancient past or at present. The wide range of martian 12C/13C and D/H ratios and the potential secondary alteration of CH4 by abiotic oxidation, as observed on Earth, could result in large isotope variations of methane on Mars. CH4 isotopic composition alone may not allow definitive determination of biotic vs. abiotic gas origin. Using our terrestrial vs. martian analysis as guide to future Mars exploration we propose that direct methane and ethane gas detection and isotopic measurements on the ground over serpentinized/serpentinizing rocks should be considered in developing future strategies for unraveling the source and origin of methane on Mars.

  6. Perchlorate and Volatiles in the Brine of Lake Vida (antarctica): Implication for the Analysis of Mars Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kenig, F. P. H.; Chou, L.; McKay, C.; Jackson, W. A.; Doran, P. T.; Murray, A. E.; Fritsen, C. H.

    2015-12-01

    A cold (-13.4 °C), saline (188 psu) evaporative brine is encapsulated in the thick (> 27 m) ice of Lake Vida (McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica). The Lake Vida brine (LVBr), which contains abundant dissolved organic carbon (48.2 mmol/L), support an active but slow microbial community. LVBr contains oxychlorines with 50 μg/L of perchlorate and 11 μg/L of chlorate. The McMurdo Dry Valleys have often been considered as a good Mars analog. The oxychlorine-rich brine of Lake Vida constitutes a potential equivalent to perchlorate-rich preserved saline liquid water on Mars. We report here on the artifacts created by oxychlorines upon analysis of volatiles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of LVBr by direct immersion (DI) and head space (HS) solid phase micro extraction (SPME) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). We compare analytical blanks to a standard containing 40 μg/L of perchlorate and to actual LVBr sample runs. All blanks, perchlorate blanks and samples were analyzed using two types of SPME fibers, CarboxenTM/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and divinylbenzene (DVB)/ PDMS. The similarities and differences between our results and those obtained by the Sample Analysis at Mars instruments of the rover Curiosity are discussed. The volatiles evolved from LVBr upon analysis with DI- and HS-SPME GCMS are dominated by CO2, dichloromethane, HCl, and volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs, such as DMS, DMDS). The volatiles also include oxygenated compounds such as acids and ketones, aromatic compounds, hydrocarbons, chlorinated compounds (dominated by dichloromethane). Apart from the VOSCs, short chain hydrocarbons and some functionalized compounds derived from the brine itself, all compounds observed are artifacts formed upon oxychlorine breakdown in the injector of the GCMS. The distribution of aromatic compounds seems to be directly dependant on the type of SPME fiber used. The perchlorate blanks show a clear pattern of carbon limitation, likely affecting the

  7. Comparing Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) and Early-Time TEM for Mapping Highly Conductive Groundwater in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2005-05-01

    Introduction: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of (diffusive) Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) for sounding of subsurface water in conductive Mars analog environments. To provide a baseline for such studies, I show data from two field studies: 1) Diffusive sounding data (TEM) from Pima County, Arizona; and 2) Shallower sounding data using the Fast-Turnoff TEM method from Peña de Hierro in the Rio Tinto region of Spain. The latter is data from work conducted under the auspices of the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). Pima County TEM Survey: A TEM survey was carried out in Pima County, Arizona, in January 2003. Data was collected using 100 m Tx loops and a ferrite-cored magnetic coil Rx antenna, and processed using commercial software. The survey used a 16 Hz sounding frequency, which is sensitive to slightly salty groundwater. Prominent features in the data from Arizona are the ~500 m depth of investigation and the ~120 m depth to the water table, confirmed by data from four USGS test wells surrounding the field area. Note also the conductive (~20-40 ω m) clay-rich soil above the water table. Rio Tinto Fast-Turnoff TEM Survey: During May and June of 2003, a Fast-Turnoff (early time) TEM survey was carried out at the Peña de Hierro field area of the MARTE project, near the town of Nerva, Spain. Data was collected using 20 m and 40 m Tx loop antennae and 10 m loop Rx antennae, with a 32 Hz sounding frequency. Data from Line 4 (of 16) from this survey, collected using 40 m Tx loops, show ~200 m depth of investigation and a conductive high at ~90 m depth below Station 20 (second station of 10 along this line). This is the water table, matching the 431 m MSL elevation of the nearby pit lake. The center of the "pileup" below Station 60 is spatially coincident with the vertical fault plane located here. Data from Line 15 and Line 14 of the Rio Tinto survey, collected using 20 m Tx loops, achieve ~50 m depth of investigation and

  8. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization into lunar/Mars exploration through field analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanders, Gerald B.; Larson, William E.

    2011-01-01

    results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08, Flagstaff in 9/09, and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with non-US space agencies.

  9. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization Into Lunar/Mars Exploration Through Field Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanders, Gerald

    the results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08, Flagstaff in 9/09, and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with international space agencies.

  10. Synthetic (Hydrothermal) Hematite-Rich Mars-Analog Spherules from Acid-Sulfate Brines: Implications for Formation and Diagenesis of Hematite Spherules in Outcrops at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T. G.

    2008-01-01

    The Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) onboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter discovered a large area at Meridiani Planum (MP) covered with the Fe-oxide hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) [1,2]. This discovery and favorable landing site characteristics led to selection of MP as the landing site for the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover (MER) [3]. The Athena science payload onboard the Opportunity rover identified hematite-rich spherules (mean spherule diameter approx.4.2+/-0.8 mm) embedded in S-rich outcrop rock and also as lag deposits of whole and broken spherules [4,5,6,7,8,9]. Although the chemical and mineralogical compositions of spherules are not fully constrained, Moessbauer spectrometer (MB) Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) and chemical analyses from the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) are consistent with a hematite mineralogical composition and an oxide bulk chemical composition consisting of Fe2O3. MGS-TES, also provides an important constraint that emission from the hematite-rich spherules is dominated by emission along the crystallographic c-axis [1,2,10,11]. The formation of hematite-rich spherules with similar chemical, mineralogical, morphological, and crystallographic properties to the MP spherules is rare on Earth, to date, only two natural analogs have been proposed; one from Utah (Navaho Concretions) and the other from Mauna Kea, Hawaii [12,13]. In this study, we synthesized in the laboratory hematite-rich spherules using conditions that may have existed on Early Mars [14] and compared their properties to those for MP hematite spherules of Mars and the analog spherules from Utah and Mauna Kea in order to assess their relative merit as MP hematite spherule analogs. Such comparisons yield clues to the formation pathway for MP spherules.

  11. Authigenic phyllosilicates in modern acid saline lake sediments and implications for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Story, Stacy; Bowen, Brenda Beitler; Benison, Kathleen Counter; Schulze, Darrell G.

    2010-12-01

    Aluminum- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates are considered important geochemical indicators in terrestrial and Martian sedimentary systems. Traditionally, Al-phyllosilicates are characterized as forming and remaining stable under conditions of low to moderate pH, while Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates are considered representative of only dilute and moderate to high pH conditions. However, we have observed Al- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates in acid saline lake sediments in Western Australia. Phyllosilicate formation mechanisms in these lake systems include direct precipitation from lake waters, early diagenetic precipitation from shallow groundwaters, and deposition/alteration of detrital grains. X-ray diffraction analysis of silt- and clay-size sediments from two acid saline lakes in Western Australia indicates the presence of several complex mineral assemblages with extreme spatial heterogeneity that reflects the complex geochemistry of these lakes. These assemblages include unique combinations of authigenic and/or detrital phyllosilicates (e.g., kaolinite, smectite, and palygorskite-sepiolite), sulfates (e.g., alunite, jarosite, and gypsum), Fe-oxides (e.g., hematite and goethite), and other silicates (e.g., mullite and heulandite-clinoptilolite). Observations of Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates found in acid saline sediments in southern Western Australia suggest their degradation under conditions of low pH (2.5-5.4) is slowed by the high salinity (5-25%) of the lake and shallow groundwaters. The occurrence of both Al- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates in these acid saline lake sediments suggests that environmental interpretations based on the occurrence of phyllosilicates require additional consideration of their spatial distribution and association with other minerals. Moreover, the similarity between the diverse mineral assemblages in these terrestrial acid saline systems and those on Mars indicates similar conditions may have existed on Mars.

  12. Hellas as a possible site of ancient ice-covered lakes on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, Johnnie N.; Wilhelms, D.E.

    2001-01-01

    Based on topographic, morphologic, and stratigraphic evidence, we propose that ancient water-laid sediment is the dominant component of deposits within Hellas Planitia, Mars. Multiple-layered sediment is manifested by alternating benches and scarps visible in Mars orbiting camera narrow-angle (MOC NA) images. Viking Orbiter camera and MOC NA images were used to map contacts and stratigraphically order the different materials units within Hellas. Mars orbiting laser altimeter (MOLA) data reveal that the contacts of these sedimentary units, as well as a number of scarps or other abrupt changes in landscape texture, trace contours of constant elevation for thousands of km, and in one case all around the basin. Channels, consensually interpreted to be cut by water, lead into the basin. MOLA results indicate that the area encompassed by greater Hellas' highest closed contour is nearly one-fifth that of the entire northern plains, making the Hellas "drainage" area much larger than previously reported. If lakes formed under climatic conditions similar to the modern Martian climate, they would develop thick ice carapaces, then the lakes would eventually sublimate away. Two units within Hellas exhibit a reticulate or honeycomb pattern, which we speculate are impressions made by lake-lowered ice blocks grounding into initially soft mud.

  13. Hellas as a Possible Site of Ancient Ice-Covered Lakes on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Wilhelms, Don E.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Based on topographic, morphologic, and stratigraphic evidence, we propose that ancient water-laid sediment is the dominant component of deposits within Hellas Planitia, Mars. Multiply layered sediment is manifested by alternating benches and scarps visible in Mars Orbiting Camera narrow-angle (MOC NA) images. Viking Orbiter camera and MOC NA images were used to map contacts and stratigraphically order the different materials units within Hellas. Mar's Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data reveal that the contacts of these sedimentary units, as well as a number of scarps or other abrupt changes in landscape texture, trace contours of constant elevation for thousands of km, and in one case all around the basin. Channels, consensually interpreted to be cut by water, lead into the basin. MOLA results indicate that the area encompassed by greater Hellas' highest closed contour is nearly one-fifth that of the entire northern plains, making the Hellas 'drainage' area much larger than previously reported. If lakes formed under climatic conditions similar to the modern Martian climate, they would develop thick ice carapaces, then the lakes would eventually sublimate away. Two units within Hellas exhibit a reticulate or honeycomb pattern we speculate are impressions made by lake-lowered ice blocks grounding into initially soft mud.

  14. Small Valleys Networks on Mars: The Glacial Meltwater Channel Networks of Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as Possible Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Rice, James W., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Small valley networks are perhaps the clearest evidence for episodes of sustained fluid erosion by water on Mars. While small valley formation has occurred even in Amazonian times, notably on the flanks of some volcanoes, most small valley networks on Mars are associated with the heavily cratered Noachian terrains and are thought to be as old as these terrains. We discuss here the recent identification of glacial meltwater channel networks on Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as possible analogs for many small valley networks seen on Mars. A meltwater channel network interpretation for the martian networks may help solve critical problems plaguing more classical interpretations of their origin such as surface runoff following precipitation or groundwater release, including the need for warm climatic conditions. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  15. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Malin, M.C.; Rubin, D.M.; Schieber, J.; Siebach, K.; Sumner, D.Y.; Stack, K.M.; Vasavada, A.R.; Arvidson, R.E.; Calef, F.; Edgar, Lauren; Fischer, W.F.; Grant, J.A.; Griffes, J.L.; Kah, L.C.; Lamb, M.P.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Minitti, M.E.; Palucis, M.C.; Rice, M.; Williams, R.M.E.; Yingst, R.A.; Blake, D.; Blaney, D.; Conrad, P.; Crisp, J.A.; Dietrich, W.E.; Dromart, G.; Edgett, K.S.; Ewing, R.C.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Kocurek, G.; Mahaffy, P.G.; McBride, M.J.; McLennan, S.M.; Mischna, M.A.; Ming, D.; Milliken, R.E.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Parker, T.J.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.C.; Wilson, S.A.

    2015-01-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

  16. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars.

    PubMed

    Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Malin, M C; Rubin, D M; Schieber, J; Siebach, K; Sumner, D Y; Stack, K M; Vasavada, A R; Arvidson, R E; Calef, F; Edgar, L; Fischer, W F; Grant, J A; Griffes, J; Kah, L C; Lamb, M P; Lewis, K W; Mangold, N; Minitti, M E; Palucis, M; Rice, M; Williams, R M E; Yingst, R A; Blake, D; Blaney, D; Conrad, P; Crisp, J; Dietrich, W E; Dromart, G; Edgett, K S; Ewing, R C; Gellert, R; Hurowitz, J A; Kocurek, G; Mahaffy, P; McBride, M J; McLennan, S M; Mischna, M; Ming, D; Milliken, R; Newsom, H; Oehler, D; Parker, T J; Vaniman, D; Wiens, R C; Wilson, S A

    2015-10-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). PMID:26450214

  17. A Volcanic Origin for Sinuous and Branching Channels on Mars: Evidence from Hawaiian Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bleacher, Jacob E.; deWet, Andrew; Garry, W. Brent; Zimbelman, James R.

    2012-01-01

    following the eruption. The lateral margins of the proximal sheet, past which all lava flowed to feed the extensive channel, currently display a thickness of < 20 cm. Were this area covered by a dust layer, as is the Tharsis region on Mars, the margins would be difficult to identify. The Pohue Bay flow forms a lava tube. Open roof sections experienced episodes of overflow and spill out. In several places the resultant surface flows appear to have moved as sheet flows that inundated the preexisting meter scale features. Here the flows developed pathways around topographic highs, and in so doing accreted lava onto those features. The results are small islands within the multiple branched channels that display steep, sometimes overhanging walls. None of these features alone proves that the martian channel networks are the result of volcanic processes, but analog studies such as these are the first step towards identifying which morphologies are truly diagnostic of fluvial and volcanic channels.

  18. The Chemistry and Mineralogy of Atacama Desert soils: A Possible Analog for Mars Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutter, B.; Amundson, R.; Ewing, S.; Rhodes, K. W.; McKay, C.

    2002-12-01

    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest desert in the world, having experienced its present hyper-arid climate since the Miocene. While Mars is vastly more dry and cold than the Atacama, the Atacama environment may be one of the best terrestrial Mars analog environments accessible to researchers. Because of the long-term hyperaridity, the soils retain atmospherically-derived elements, which accumulate to economically valuable quantities. The objective of this work was to examine physical and chemical evolution of the soils of the hyper-arid Atacama Desert to provide insight as to what soil properties may be found on Mars. Three soils were excavated and examined on widely representative landforms along a south to north transect (Copiapo > Altimira > Yungay) that coincides with decreasing moisture levels (~15mm to ~2 mm yr-1, south to north). Total chemical analyses were used to calculate strain (i.e. volume change) and elemental gains or losses (\\tau). Relative to parent material values, the Yungay and Altimira soils have expanded over 400% in certain horizons, while the Copiapo soil has collapsed by as much as 48%. The expansions are driven by elemental gains; the collapse by weathering losses. Calculations of \\tau indicate a 380 000% enrichment in Cl (halite) in the lower horizons, and S enrichments (anhydrite, gypsum) as high as 50 000% in the upper horizons, of the Yungay soil. The Altimira soil had a 110 000% enrichment of S (gypsum) and a 16,000% enrichment of carbonate, reflecting the higher precipitation and the relative solubility of salts. The southern, higher rainfall Copiapo soil had small \\tau values for S (283%) and Cl (63%) in the middle horizons, but significant gains of CaCO3 (\\tau values as high as 4 000% in certain horizons). In general, the type and depth of Cl, S, and CaCO3 enrichment in the soils varied predictably with rainfall. The results of this work, which document enormous atmospherically-derived elemental gains and

  19. Water Dynamics, Ice Stability, and Salts in Victoria Valley Soils, Antarctica: An Instructive Analog for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hagedorn, B.; Sletten, R. S.; Hallet, B.

    2006-12-01

    Typical of many hyper arid soils of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, soils in Victoria Valley contain ~10% ice (at 0.3 m depth) and ~0.4% salt, mostly calcium and sodium sulfates and chlorides, making them excellent analogs to Martian soils. Vapor diffusion models designed to investigate ground ice dynamics on Mars are not entirely satisfactory because they lead to the unrealistic expectation that soils in Antarctica should be ice free within a 1000 years of being saturated with ice, and yet even ancient soils characteristically contain abundant ice near the surface. Validation of these diffusion models has been limited because of the paucity of field based climate and soil climate data. Moreover the models ignore the significant effects of snow cover, surface melt water and salts on vapor fluxes. To better understand the presence and stability of the shallow subsurface ice we are exploring the effect of snow cover and salts on vapor fluxes. Ice stability was investigated using high-resolution climate and soil temperature data from 2002 to 2005. According to the vapor diffusion model ice sublimates at an average rate of 0.22 mm a-1, corresponding to an ice recession of ~1.3 mm a-1 for soil with 10% ice content. Some of the water vapor is transported to the atmosphere; however, some water vapor accumulates at depth in the soil. Furthermore, snow cover during the summer may substantially reduce annual ice loss. Stable isotopes (δ18O & δD) in ice along a 1.6m vertical soil profile reveal a deuterium excess (-13 to -77 ‰) with the greatest enrichment of heavy isotopes at the top of the ice cement and decreasing with depth to form a concave-down profile. This isotopic profile was interpreted using a quantitative model of H2O transport in perennially frozen soil, including the advection-dispersion of heavy isotope- enriched surface water into the ice-cement. It suggests an average infiltration rate of 0.7 mm a-1 of brine if 2.5% of the H2O present is unfrozen, a

  20. Modeling aluminum-silicon chemistries and application to Australian acidic playa lakes as analogues for Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marion, G.M.; Crowley, J.K.; Thomson, B.J.; Kargel, J.S.; Bridges, N.T.; Hook, S.J.; Baldridge, A.; Brown, A.J.; Ribeiro da Luz, B.; de Souza, Filho C.R.

    2009-01-01

    Recent Mars missions have stimulated considerable thinking about the surficial geochemical evolution of Mars. Among the major relevant findings are the presence in Meridiani Planum sediments of the mineral jarosite (a ferric sulfate salt) and related minerals that require formation from an acid-salt brine and oxidizing environment. Similar mineralogies have been observed in acidic saline lake sediments in Western Australia (WA), and these lakes have been proposed as analogues for acidic sedimentary environments on Mars. The prior version of the equilibrium chemical thermodynamic FREZCHEM model lacked Al and Si chemistries that are needed to appropriately model acidic aqueous geochemistries on Earth and Mars. The objectives of this work were to (1) add Al and Si chemistries to the FREZCHEM model, (2) extend these chemistries to low temperatures (<0 ??C), if possible, and (3) use the reformulated model to investigate parallels in the mineral precipitation behavior of acidic Australian lakes and hypothetical Martian brines. FREZCHEM is an equilibrium chemical thermodynamic model parameterized for concentrated electrolyte solutions using the Pitzer approach for the temperature range from <-70 to 25 ??C and the pressure range from 1 to 1000 bars. Aluminum chloride and sulfate mineral parameterizations were based on experimental data. Aluminum hydroxide and silicon mineral parameterizations were based on Gibbs free energy and enthalpy data. New aluminum and silicon parameterizations added 12 new aluminum/silicon minerals to this Na-K-Mg-Ca-Fe(II)-Fe(III)-Al-H-Cl-Br-SO4-NO3-OH-HCO3-CO3-CO2-O2-CH4-Si-H2O system that now contain 95 solid phases. There were similarities, differences, and uncertainties between Australian acidic, saline playa lakes and waters that likely led to the Burns formation salt accumulations on Mars. Both systems are similar in that they are dominated by (1) acidic, saline ground waters and sediments, (2) Ca and/or Mg sulfates, and (3) iron

  1. Modeling aluminum-silicon chemistries and application to Australian acidic playa lakes as analogues for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marion, G. M.; Crowley, J. K.; Thomson, B. J.; Kargel, J. S.; Bridges, N. T.; Hook, S. J.; Baldridge, A.; Brown, A. J.; Ribeiro da Luz, B.; de Souza Filho, C. R.

    2009-06-01

    Recent Mars missions have stimulated considerable thinking about the surficial geochemical evolution of Mars. Among the major relevant findings are the presence in Meridiani Planum sediments of the mineral jarosite (a ferric sulfate salt) and related minerals that require formation from an acid-salt brine and oxidizing environment. Similar mineralogies have been observed in acidic saline lake sediments in Western Australia (WA), and these lakes have been proposed as analogues for acidic sedimentary environments on Mars. The prior version of the equilibrium chemical thermodynamic FREZCHEM model lacked Al and Si chemistries that are needed to appropriately model acidic aqueous geochemistries on Earth and Mars. The objectives of this work were to (1) add Al and Si chemistries to the FREZCHEM model, (2) extend these chemistries to low temperatures (<0 °C), if possible, and (3) use the reformulated model to investigate parallels in the mineral precipitation behavior of acidic Australian lakes and hypothetical Martian brines. FREZCHEM is an equilibrium chemical thermodynamic model parameterized for concentrated electrolyte solutions using the Pitzer approach for the temperature range from <-70 to 25 °C and the pressure range from 1 to 1000 bars. Aluminum chloride and sulfate mineral parameterizations were based on experimental data. Aluminum hydroxide and silicon mineral parameterizations were based on Gibbs free energy and enthalpy data. New aluminum and silicon parameterizations added 12 new aluminum/silicon minerals to this Na-K-Mg-Ca-Fe(II)-Fe(III)-Al-H-Cl-Br-SO 4-NO 3-OH-HCO 3-CO 3-CO 2-O 2-CH 4-Si-H 2O system that now contain 95 solid phases. There were similarities, differences, and uncertainties between Australian acidic, saline playa lakes and waters that likely led to the Burns formation salt accumulations on Mars. Both systems are similar in that they are dominated by (1) acidic, saline ground waters and sediments, (2) Ca and/or Mg sulfates, and (3) iron

  2. Field trial of a dual-wavelength fluorescent emission (L.I.F.E.) instrument and the Magma White rover during the MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    PubMed

    Groemer, Gernot; Sattler, Birgit; Weisleitner, Klemens; Hunger, Lars; Kohstall, Christoph; Frisch, Albert; Józefowicz, Mateusz; Meszyński, Sebastian; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Frischauf, Norbert; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ragonig, Christoph; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sams, Sebastian; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Soucek, Alexander; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Stumptner, Willibald; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    Abstract We have developed a portable dual-wavelength laser fluorescence spectrometer as part of a multi-instrument optical probe to characterize mineral, organic, and microbial species in extreme environments. Operating at 405 and 532 nm, the instrument was originally designed for use by human explorers to produce a laser-induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) spectral database of the mineral and organic molecules found in the microbial communities of Earth's cryosphere. Recently, our team had the opportunity to explore the strengths and limitations of the instrument when it was deployed on a remote-controlled Mars analog rover. In February 2013, the instrument was deployed on board the Magma White rover platform during the MARS2013 Mars analog field mission in the Kess Kess formation near Erfoud, Morocco. During these tests, we followed tele-science work flows pertinent to Mars surface missions in a simulated spaceflight environment. We report on the L.I.F.E. instrument setup, data processing, and performance during field trials. A pilot postmission laboratory analysis determined that rock samples acquired during the field mission exhibited a fluorescence signal from the Sun-exposed side characteristic of chlorophyll a following excitation at 405 nm. A weak fluorescence response to excitation at 532 nm may have originated from another microbial photosynthetic pigment, phycoerythrin, but final assignment awaits development of a comprehensive database of mineral and organic fluorescence spectra. No chlorophyll fluorescence signal was detected from the shaded underside of the samples. PMID:24823800

  3. Characterization of an Antarctic Mars Analog Soil and Implications for Martian Weathering Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Leshin, L. A.; Sharp, T. G.; Harvey, R. P.; Farquhar, J.

    2005-12-01

    Terrestrial analogs can be used to gain insight into potential martian weathering processes and the role of water in the near-surface environment. We are investigating the mineralogy and chemical properties of a fine size fraction of a soil weathered from the Ferrar Dolerite. The soil was collected near Lewis Cliff in the Transantarctic Mountains. The Ferrar exhibits mineralogical similarities to martian basaltic lithologies, as represented by the shergottites [Harvey, 2001]. Production of fines from this parent rock in the cold, arid Antarctic makes the fines a promising Mars analog material. The analog soil fines have been studied with SEM/EDS, IR spectroscopy, XRD, TEM, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. XRD-derived semi-quantitative mineral abundances reveal that the Antarctic fines contain ~30% primary phases (plagioclase feldspar, pyroxenes, a small amount of quartz) and ~70% secondary phases (clays and clay-like mineraloids, zeolites, and ~50% calcium sulfates). The fines' thermal IR spectrum revealed silicate, bound water and sulfate features, consistent with the XRD-derived mineralogy. The significant amount of secondary phases present indicate that even in the Earth's coldest, driest environment, there is enough water and energy to weather some primary minerals. Atmospheric sulfate aerosols may have been important in producing the fines' abundant sulfate salts. Oxygen isotope studies of Antarctic Dry Valleys sulfates have revealed a Δ17O anomaly, which suggests the sulfates are not just from sea salt (Δ17O =0) but also from atmospheric oxidation of gaseous sulfur compounds (e.g. marine biogenic dimethylsulfide) [e.g. Bao et al., 2000]. The anomaly implies that atmospheric sulfur aerosols interact with rocks and soils in Antarctica, similar to the acid fog model for martian weathering [e.g. Banin et al. 1997]. We have obtained an average Δ17O value of +1.67±0.05‰ for the sulfates in the Antarctic fines being investigated here. This indicates that, in this

  4. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization Into Lunar/Mars Exploration Through Field Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sanders, Gerald B.; Larson, William E.

    2010-01-01

    vehicles and surface propulsive hoppers. While concepts and even laboratory work on evaluating and developing ISRU techniques such as oxygen extraction from lunar regolith have been going on since before the Apollo 11 Moon landing, no ISRU system has ever flown in space, and only recently have ISRU technologies been developed at a scale and at a system level that is relevant to actual robotic and human mission applications. Because ISRU hardware and systems have never been demonstrated or utilized before on robotic or human missions, architecture and mission planners and surface system hardware developers are hesitant to rely on ISRU products and services that are critical to mission and system implementation success. To build confidence in ISRU systems for future missions and assess how ISRU systems can best influence and integrate with other surface system elements, NASA, with international partners, are performing analog field tests to understand how to take advantage of ISRU capabilities and benefits with the minimum of risk associated with introducing this game-changing approach to exploration. This paper will describe and review the results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08. Flagstaff in 9/09; and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with international space agencies.

  5. Isotopic and Geochemical Investigation of Two Distinct Mars Analog Environments Using Evolved Gas Techniques in Svalbard, Norway

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, Jennifer Claire; Mcadam, Amy Catherine; Ten Kate, Inge L.; Bish, David L.; Blake, David F.; Morris, Richard V.; Bowden, Roxane; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Glamoclija, Mihaela; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Steele, Andrew; Amundsen, Hans E. F.

    2013-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two distinct geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques to be deployed on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). AMASErelated research comprises both analyses conducted during the expedition and further analyses of collected samples using laboratory facilities at a variety of institutions. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL includes pyrolysis ovens, a gas-processing manifold, a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), several gas chromatography columns, and a Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). An integral part of SAM development is the deployment of SAM-like instrumentation in the field. During AMASE 2010, two parts of SAM participated as stand-alone instruments. A Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis- Mass Spectrometer (EGA-QMS) system represented the EGA-QMS component of SAM, and a Picarro Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer (EGA-CRDS), represented the EGA-TLS component of SAM. A field analog of CheMin, the XRD/XRF on MSL, was also deployed as part of this field campaign. Carbon isotopic measurements of CO2 evolved during thermal decomposition of carbonates were used together with EGA-QMS geochemical data, mineral composition information and contextual observations made during sample collection to distinguish carbonates formation associated with chemosynthetic activity at a fossil methane seep from abiotic processes forming carbonates associated with subglacial basaltic eruptions. Carbon and oxygen isotopes of the basalt-hosted carbonates suggest cryogenic carbonate formation, though more research is necessary to clarify the history of these rocks.

  6. Isotopic and geochemical investigation of two distinct Mars analog environments using evolved gas techniques in Svalbard, Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, Jennifer C.; McAdam, Amy C.; Ten Kate, Inge L.; Bish, David L.; Blake, David F.; Morris, Richard V.; Bowden, Roxane; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Glamoclija, Mihaela; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Steele, Andrew; Amundsen, Hans E. F.

    2013-06-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two distinct geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques to be deployed on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). AMASE-related research comprises both analyses conducted during the expedition and further analyses of collected samples using laboratory facilities at a variety of institutions. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL includes pyrolysis ovens, a gas-processing manifold, a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), several gas chromatography columns, and a Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). An integral part of SAM development is the deployment of SAM-like instrumentation in the field. During AMASE 2010, two parts of SAM participated as stand-alone instruments. A Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-QMS) system represented the EGA-QMS component of SAM, and a Picarro Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer (EGA-CRDS), represented the EGA-TLS component of SAM. A field analog of CheMin, the XRD/XRF on MSL, was also deployed as part of this field campaign. Carbon isotopic measurements of CO2 evolved during thermal decomposition of carbonates were used together with EGA-QMS geochemical data, mineral composition information and contextual observations made during sample collection to distinguish carbonates formation associated with chemosynthetic activity at a fossil methane seep from abiotic processes forming carbonates associated with subglacial basaltic eruptions. Carbon and oxygen isotopes of the basalt-hosted carbonates suggest cryogenic carbonate formation, though more research is necessary to clarify the history of these rocks.

  7. The Search for Water and Other Volatile-bearing Phases on Mars: Mauna Kea Volcano as an Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ming, D. W.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Golden, D. C.; Morris, R. V.

    2003-01-01

    Over the past 5 years, we have conducted field studies on the summit cones of Mauna Kea Volcano in Hawaii. Basaltic materials on several of these summit cones have been significantly altered by hydrothermal activity, whereas other summit cones have not undergone extensive aqueous alteration. These summit cones provide an important environment to study analogs of Martian surface alteration materials and analog surface processes (i.e., hydrothermal alteration, palagonitization. In on-going research, we have characterized the thermal and evolved gas behaviors of volatile-bearing reference minerals at reduced pressures in support of TEGA. We have expanded those studies to characterize the thermal and evolved gas behaviors of Mauna Kea samples as an analog for Mars surface materials. These samples were chosen for two reasons. First, many have chemical and spectral properties similar to what we see from remote sensing data from the Martian surface. Second, these samples have a range of mineralogical and chemical properties, ranging from simple to very complex; hence it will be challenging to characterize their thermal and evolved gas behaviors and to provide a context for their geological evolution. However, these types of studies are absolutely critical to understanding relevant geologic processes on Mars during robotic missions to the surface.

  8. Outcrop-Scale Hyperspectral Studies of a Lacustrine-Volcanic Mars Analog: Examination with a Mars 2020-like Instrument Suite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, P.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Blaney, D. L.; Bhartia, R.; Allwood, A.

    2015-12-01

    Using the recently developed Ultra Compact Imaging Spectrometer (UCIS) (0.4-2.5 μm) to generate outcrop-scale infrared images and compositional maps, a Mars-relevant field site near China Ranch in the Mojave Desert has been surveyed and sampled to analyze the synergies between instruments in the Mars 2020 rover instrument suite. The site is broadly comprised of large lacustrine gypsum beds with fine-grained gypsiferous mudstones and interbedded volcanic ashes deposited in the Pleistocene, with a carbonate unit atop the outcrop. Alteration products such as clays and iron oxides are pervasive throughout the sequence. Mineralogical mapping of the outcrop was performed using UCIS. As the 2020 rover will have an onboard multispectral camera and IR point spectrometer, Mastcam-Z and SuperCam, this process of spectral analysis leading to the selection of sites for more detailed investigation is similar to the process by which samples will be selected for increased scrutiny during the 2020 mission. The infrared image is resampled (spatially and spectrally) to the resolutions of Mastcam-Z and SuperCam to simulate data from the Mars 2020 rover. Hand samples were gathered in the field (guided by the prior infrared compositional mapping), capturing samples of spectral and mineralogical variance in the scene. After collection, a limited number of specimens were chosen for more detailed analysis. The hand samples are currently being analyzed using JPL prototypes of the Mars 2020 arm-mounted contact instruments, specifically PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) and SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence). The geologic story as told by the Mars 2020 instrument data will be analyzed and compared to the full suite of data collected by hyperspectral imaging and terrestrial techniques (e.g. XRD) applied to the collected hand samples. This work will shed light on the potential uses and synergies of the Mars 2020 instrument suite, especially

  9. The Role of the Photogeologic Mapping in the Morocco 2013 Mars Analog Field Simulation (Austrian Space Forum)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Losiak, Anna; Orgel, Csilla; Moser, Linda; MacArthur, Jane; Gołębiowska, Izabela; Wittek, Steffen; Boyd, Andrea; Achorner, Isabella; Rampey, Mike; Bartenstein, Thomas; Jones, Natalie; Luger, Ulrich; Sans, Alejandra; Hettrich, Sebastian

    2013-04-01

    The MARS2013 mission: The Austrian Space Forum together with multiple scientific partners will conduct a Mars analog field simulation. The project takes place between 1st and 28th of February 2013 in the northern Sahara near Erfoud. During the simulation a field crew (consisting of suited analog astronauts and a support team) will conduct several experiments while being managed by the Mission Support Center (MSC) located in Innsbruck, Austria. The aim of the project is to advance preparation of the future human Mars missions by testing: 1) the mission design with regard to operational and engineering challenges (e.g., how to work efficiently with introduced time delay in communication between field team and MSC), 2) scientific instruments (e.g., rovers) and 3) human performance in conditions analogous to those that will be encountered on Mars. The Role of Geological Mapping: Remote Science Support team (RSS) is responsible for processing science data obtained in the field. The RSS is also in charge of preparing a set of maps to enable planning activities of the mission (including the development of traverses) [1, 2]. The usage of those maps will increase the time-cost efficiency of the entire mission. The RSS team members do not have any prior knowledge about the area where the simulation is taking place and the analysis is fully based on remote sensing satellite data (Landsat, GoogleEarth) and a digital elevation model (ASTER GDEM)from the orbital data. The maps design: The set of maps (covering area 5 km X 5 km centered on the Mission Base Camp) was designed to simplify the process of site selection for the daily traverse planning. Additionally, the maps will help to accommodate the need of the field crew for the increased autonomy in the decision making process, forced by the induced time delay between MSC and "Mars". The set of provided maps should allow the field team to orientate and navigate in the explored areas as well as make informed decisions about

  10. Population dynamics of Aedes albifasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) south of Mar Chiquita Lake, central Argentina.

    PubMed

    Gleiser, R M; Gorla, D E; Schelotto, G

    2000-01-01

    Spatial and temporal changes in the abundance of adult female Aedes (Ochlerotatus) albifasciatus (Macquart) were studied using CDC miniature light traps at 7 sites along an 80-km transect parallel to the southern shore of Mar Chiquita Lake (central Argentina) during the rainy seasons between 1994 and 1997. Abundance was greatest and most variable at sites near larval habitats. Rainfall and an index combining rainfall and temperature predicted adult female abundance near larval habitats 7-15 d in advance. The spatial distribution of population abundance seemed to be influenced strongly by local factors, because temporal change at sampling sites located >10 km apart was asynchronous. PMID:15218902

  11. Forsterite dissolution rates in Mg-sulfate-rich Mars-analog brines and implications of the aqueous history of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albright Olsen, Amanda; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Rimstidt, J. Donald

    2015-03-01

    High salinity brines, although rare on Earth's surface, may have been important in the geologic history of Mars. Increasing evidence suggests the importance of liquid brines in multiple locations on Mars. In order to interpret the effect of high ionic strength brines on olivine dissolution, which is widely present on Mars, 47 new batch reactor experiments combined with 35 results from a previous study conducted at 25°C from 1 < pH < 4 in magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfate, magnesium nitrate, and potassium nitrate solutions with ionic strengths as high as 12 m show that very high ionic strength brines have an inhibitory effect of forsterite dissolution rates. Multiple linear regression analysis of the data suggests that the inhibition in dissolution rates is due to decreased water activity at high ionic strengths. Regression models also show that mMg up to 4 m and mSO4 up to 3 m have no effect on forsterite dissolution rates. The effect of decreasing dissolution rates with decreasing aH2O is consistent with the idea that water acts as a ligand that participates in the dissolution process. Less available water to participate in the dissolution reaction results in a slower dissolution rate. Multiple linear regression analysis of the data produces the rate equation log r = -6.81 - 0.52pH + 3.26log aH2O. Forsterite in dilute solutions with a water activity of one dissolves twice as fast as those in brines with a water activity of 0.8.

  12. Examining cemented inverted channel deposits in Green River, Utah as an analog for inverted terrain on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lanza, N.; Okubo, C. H.; Rampe, E. B.; Ollila, A. M.; Newsom, H. E.; Yurchyk, S.

    2009-12-01

    There have been numerous observations of long, relatively sinuous, positive relief landforms on Mars that appear morphologically similar to inverted channel deposits (ICDs) on Earth that represent exhumed fluvial sediments. ICDs initially form as bed sediments within active stream channels that subsequently become cemented, commonly by carbonates, iron oxides, or amorphous silica precipitated during evaporation. Subsequent deflation by aeolian processes reveals these sediments as positive relief features. Features such as the putative delta system in Eberswalde crater and the sinuous ridge in Miyamoto crater appear morphologically similar to terrestrial ICDs. The goal of this study is to better understand how terrestrial ICDs appear to remote sensing instruments that are similar to the ones currently orbiting Mars, and whether they have morphologic or spectroscopic characteristics that could help to identify them from orbit as paleofluvial deposits. Specifically, the presence of cement materials in conjunction with inverted terrain may help to identify potential ICDs on Mars. While carbonate is an unlikely cementing agent on Mars, both iron oxide and amorphous silica have been observed there. A terrestrial analog may be found in ICDs in the Cedar Mountain formation in Green River, Utah. Preliminary electron microprobe results indicate that the cement in these ICDs is primarily an amorphous silica (chalcedony) rather than a carbonate. If some martian inverted features are similarly cemented, they may not initially appear to be sedimentary features in infrared (IR) spectroscopy remote sensing data, especially if their constituent sediments are basaltic. We will show results from our initial laboratory examination of terrestrial ICD samples in mid-IR emission spectroscopy and compare these with remote sensing data of these ICDs in a similar band range from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) to identify features characteristic of

  13. Noble Gas Analysis for Mars Robotic Missions: Evaluating K-Ar Age Dating for Mars Rock Analogs and Martian Shergottites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, J.; Ming, D. W.; Garrison, D. H.; Jones, J. H.; Bogard, D. D.; Nagao, K.

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this noble gas investigation was to evaluate the possibility of measuring noble gases in martian rocks and air by future robotic missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The MSL mission has, as part of its payload, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which consists of a pyrolysis oven integrated with a GCMS. The MSL SAM instrument has the capability to measure noble gas compositions of martian rocks and atmosphere. Here we suggest the possibility of K-Ar age dating based on noble gas release of martian rocks by conducting laboratory simulation experiments on terrestrial basalts and martian meteorites. We provide requirements for the SAM instrument to obtain adequate noble gas abundances and compositions within the current SAM instrumental operating conditions, especially, a power limit that prevents heating the furnace above approx.1100 C. In addition, Martian meteorite analyses from NASA-JSC will be used as ground truth to evaluate the feasibility of robotic experiments to constrain the ages of martian surface rocks.

  14. Suited versus unsuited analog astronaut performance using the Aouda.X space suit simulator: the DELTA experiment of MARS2013.

    PubMed

    Soucek, Alexander; Ostkamp, Lutz; Paternesi, Roberta

    2015-04-01

    Space suit simulators are used for extravehicular activities (EVAs) during Mars analog missions. Flight planning and EVA productivity require accurate time estimates of activities to be performed with such simulators, such as experiment execution or traverse walking. We present a benchmarking methodology for the Aouda.X space suit simulator of the Austrian Space Forum. By measuring and comparing the times needed to perform a set of 10 test activities with and without Aouda.X, an average time delay was derived in the form of a multiplicative factor. This statistical value (a second-over-second time ratio) is 1.30 and shows that operations in Aouda.X take on average a third longer than the same operations without the suit. We also show that activities predominantly requiring fine motor skills are associated with larger time delays (between 1.17 and 1.59) than those requiring short-distance locomotion or short-term muscle strain (between 1.10 and 1.16). The results of the DELTA experiment performed during the MARS2013 field mission increase analog mission planning reliability and thus EVA efficiency and productivity when using Aouda.X. PMID:25811713

  15. Multimatrix measurement of persistent organic pollutants in Mar Chiquita, a continental saline shallow lake.

    PubMed

    Ballesteros, M L; Miglioranza, K S B; Gonzalez, M; Fillmann, G; Wunderlin, D A; Bistoni, M A

    2014-08-15

    RAMSAR sites are determined by specific characteristics of the environment in terms of ecological productivity as well services for human development, but they are also one of the most threatened ecosystems. Thus, the objective of this work was to evaluate the dynamic of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in different biotic and abiotic matrixes of the RAMSAR site (wetlands with international importance), Mar Chiquita Lake. Sampling was performed according to land use (agricultural, urban, and industrial) at two stations: Laguna del Plata and Campo Mare. POPs were analyzed in superficial water (Sw), suspended particulate material (SPM), bottom sediment (Bs) and fish tissues (Odontesthes bonariensis). Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed by GC-ECD. HCHs, Endosulfans, DDTs, PCBs and PBDEs were found in all matrixes at both stations. The high persistence and transport processes are responsible for the occurrence of HCHs, DDTs and PCBs in Bs, SPM and fish tissues, even many years after their prohibition. PBDEs showed lower levels according to the scarcity of punctual sources in the area. Endosulfan showed variable amounts in agreement with application periods since this pesticide was used until a few years ago in this area. Finally, PCB levels overpassed the acceptable daily intake for human consumption being a risk for human health Thus, the present report confirms the occurrence of POPs in Mar Chiquita lake, alerting on the contribution of agricultural and urban pollutants in a RAMSAR site. Current results also raise concerns on biomagnification processes through the food web. PMID:24840282

  16. Gram-negative Biomass in Clay Minerals Analogs: Testing Habitability Potential for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaccorsi, R.; McKay, C. P.

    2009-12-01

    Landing sites of next missions to Mars i.e., the US 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL11) and the ESA2016 Pasteur ExoMars, will include phyllosilicate outcrops as targets for investigating the geological and biological history of that planet. In this context, we present a study assessing the living biomass and habitability potential in mineralogical Mars analogs such as phyllosilicates and hematite-rich deposits encompassing a broad arid-hyper-arid climate range (annual rainfall <0.2 to ~700mm/y). Samples from the Atacama Desert (Chile), the Death Valley (CA), and the California Coast (USA) were analyzed for microbial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as proxy for Gram-negatives biomass with the Limulus-Amebocite-Lysate (LAL) assay. Mineral phases were identified using X-Ray-Diffraction (XRD). These samples resulted to contain phyllosilicate phases similar to those identified, or inferred [1], on the surface of Mars by the OMEGA-Mars/Express [e.g., 2], the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) instruments (HiRISE and CRISM) [3]. Basic observations were: 1) there is no systematic pattern in biomass content of clays vs. non-clays (oxidized) materials from the study sites; 2) Atacama desiccation polygons (muscovite and kaolinite) and contiguous hematite-rich hyper-arid deposits contain the lowest biomass, i.e., ~104to-105 cells/g, respectively; 3) the hyper-arid clays contain three-order magnitude lower Gram-negative biomass than those (montmorillonite, illite, and chlorite) from the arid Death Valley site (~107cells/g); and 4) finally, the Gram-negative (~107cells/g) of clay minerals-rich materials from the arid site is about the same than that (~1.5 to ~3.0 x 107cells/g) of water-saturated massive deposits (kaolinite, illite, and vermiculite) from the wetter California coast. Results from this investigation will help testing for the habitability potential of phyllosilicate deposits sampled by the MSL11 Mission. REFERENCES:[1] Bibring et al., 2006, Science 312:400-404; [2] Wang et

  17. LiDAR observations of an Earth magmatic plumbing system as an analog for Venus and Mars distributed volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, Jacob; Connor, Charles; Malservisi, Rocco; Bleacher, Jacob; Connor, Laura

    2014-05-01

    Clusters of tens to thousands of small volcanoes (diameters generally <30 km) are common features on the surface of Mars, Venus, and the Earth. These clusters may be described as distributed-style volcanism. Better characterizing the magmatic plumbing system of these clusters can constrain magma ascent processes as well as the regional magma production budget and heat flux beneath each cluster. Unfortunately, directly observing the plumbing systems of volcano clusters on Mars and Venus eludes our current geologic abilities. Because erosion exposes such systems at the Earth's surface, a better understanding of magmatic processes and migration can be achieved via field analysis. The terrestrial plumbing system of an eroded volcanic field may be a valuable planetary analog for Venus and Mars clusters. The magmatic plumbing system of a Pliocene-aged monogenetic volcanic field, emplaced at 0.8 km depth, is currently exposed as a sill and dike swarm in the San Rafael Desert of Central Utah, USA. The mafic bodies in this region intruded into Mesozoic sedimentary units and now make up the most erosion resistant units as sills, dikes, and plug-like conduits. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) can identify volcanic units (sills, dikes, and conduits) at high resolution, both geomorphologically and with near infrared return intensity values. Two Terrestrial LiDAR Surveys and an Airborne LiDAR Survey have been carried out over the San Rafael volcanic swarm, producing a three dimensional point cloud over approximately 36 sq. km. From the point clouds of these surveys, 1-meter DEMs are produced and volcanic intrusions have been mapped. Here we present reconstructions of the volcanic instrusions of the San Rafael Swarm. We create this reconstruction by extrapolating mapped intrustions from the LiDAR surveys into a 3D space around the current surface. We compare the estimated intrusive volume to the estimated conduit density and estimates of extrusive volume at volcano clusters of

  18. Stable Isotope Systematics of Cryogenic Evaporite Deposits from Lewis Cliff Ice Tongue, Antarctica: A Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Socki, R. A.; Harvey, R. P.; Bish, D. L.; Tonui, E.; Bao, H.

    2008-03-01

    We report stable isotope results of evaporite mounds and associated moraine materials from Lewis Cliff, Antarctica. Data suggest evaporite mineral formation likely occurred sub-glacially, influenced by secondary glacial ice and/or moraine lake water.

  19. Antarctic Dry Valley Sediments as Analogs for Microbial Systems in a Cold Mars-Like Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Englert, P.

    2016-05-01

    Investigations of surface and lake bottom sediments in the Antarctic Dry Valleys have revealed microbial life nearly everywhere and some evidence for clays, carbonates, sulfates and other minerals associated with microbes in the sediments.

  20. Ancient and Modern Salars of the Atacama Desert, Chile: A Terrestrial Analog for Evaporite Formation on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jungers, M. C.; Amundson, R.; Heimsath, A. M.; Christensen, P. R.; Edwards, C. S.

    2010-12-01

    The hyperarid (< 2 mm/yr MAP) Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a widely accepted terrestrial analog for the surface of Mars. Sulfate and chloride deposits are present in uncommonly high abundances throughout the Atacama. The formation and preservation of these evaporite deposits are a direct result of the arid-hyperarid climate of the region from the Triassic to the present. Mars, too, is known for a long history of aridity. Remotely sensed data from THEMIS, TES, and analyses conducted during Mars landing missions have revealed the presence of sulfate and chloride deposits covering some portions of Mars’ surface. We synthesize remotely sensed (ASTER) data from the Atacama with field observations and sample analyses by laboratory thermal spectroscopy and portable XRF to inform how best to interpret signatures of sulfate and chloride deposits on Mars. We focus on two salars, one ancient (Salar de Llamara) and one modern (Salar de Atacama), to better understand how evaporites’ spectral and geochemical signatures may evolve through time. The oldest deposits of the Salar de Llamara are Miocene in age, while the Salar de Atacama continues to develop today. Compositionally, both salars’ surfaces are dominated by sulfate (gypsum and anhydrite) and chloride (halite) deposits. We selected sample sites according to compositional boundaries inferred from decorrelation stretches of thermal infrared (TIR) ASTER bands supplemented by previous field reconnaissance. We collected surface samples along transects from the core of the salars to their shorelines, intersecting zones ranging from predominantly sulfate or chloride to near equal mixtures of each composition. This transect approach to sampling allowed us to collect samples that incorporated a range of both geochemical compositions and processes fundamental to the spatial and temporal evolution of evaporite deposits. Preliminary results show promise in refining our ability to identify sulfates and chlorides using lab

  1. Mineralogical and Geochemical Analyses of Antarctic Lake Sediments: A Reflectance and Moessbauer Spectroscopy Study with Applications for Remote Sensing on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Froeschl, Heinz; Lougear, Andre; Trautwein, Alfred X.; Newton, Jason; Doran, Peter T.; Koerner, Wilfried; Koeberl, Christian; Bishop, Janice (Technical Monitor); DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Lakebottom sediments from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica have been analyzed here in order to study the influence of water chemistry on the mineralogy and geochemistry of these sediments, as well as to evaluate techniques for remote spectral identification of potential biomarker minerals on Mars. Lakes from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica have been investigated as possible analogs for extinct lake environments on early Mars. Sediment cores were collected in the present study from perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare in the Taylor Valley. These sediments were taken from a core in an oxic region of the lake and another core in an anoxic zone. Differences between the two cores were observed in the sediment color, Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratio, the presence of pyrite, the abundance of Fe, S and some trace elements, and the C, N and S isotope fractionation patterns. The results of visible-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (0.3-25 microns) Mossbauer spectroscopy (77 and 4 K) and X-ray diffraction are combined to determine the mineralogy and composition of these samples. The sediments are dominated by plagioclase, K-feldspar, quartz and pyroxene. Algal mats grow on the bottom of the lake and organic material has been found throughout the cores. Calcite is abundant in some layers of the aerobic core (shallow region) and pyrite is abundant in some layers of the anaerobic core (deep region). Analysis of the spectroscopic features due to organics and carbonates with respect to the abundance of organic C and carbonate contents was performed in order to select optimal spectral bands for remote identification of these components in planetary regoliths. Carbonate bands near 4 and 6.8 microns (approx.2500 and 1500/cm) were detected for carbonate abundances as low as 0.1 wt.% CO2. Organic features at 3.38, 3.42 and 3.51 microns (2960, 2925 and 2850/cm) were detected for organic C abundances as low as 0.06 wt.% C. The d13C trends show a more complex organic history for the anaerobic

  2. Radar Sounding of Temperate Permafrost (Fairbanks, AK): Study of Dielectric and Scattering Losses in Mars-Analog Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boisson, J.; Heggy, E.; Clifford, S. M.; Anglade, A.; Yoshikawa, K.

    2009-12-01

    Subsurface water on Mars has been subject to several hypothesis and debates. To access its potential distribution and state in the fractured Martian subsurface, two low-frequency radar sounders (MARSIS and SHARAD) are currently probing the Martian upper crust exploring dielectric evidence of volatiles presence. The identification of volatiles signatures using low frequency radars is constrained by our understanding of both dielectric and scattering losses mechanisms that are generated by the dielectric complexity and the heterogeneities of the Martian subsurface. Both of those parameters remain unfortunately poorly quantified in planetary analog environments. To address this issue, we conducted wide-band ground penetrating radar (GPR) investigations and resistivity survey on a permafrost terrain, at the Vault Creek located 21 km North of Fairbanks (Alaska, USA). The site presents a 40 m deep mining tunnel, which allows validating the subsurface composition and the different geologic interfaces as inferred from the radar echoes. The area shows several geomorphological and geophysical analogies to recently observed terrains in the high and mid-latitudes on Mars (e.g. permafrost, ground polygons and pingoos). The GPR surveys were performed at four central frequencies (40, 270, 400 and 900 MHz) along the same profile in order to monitor the attenuation mechanisms over the 40 to 900 MHz frequency band. The obtained data set provided an insight into characterizing and quantifying the different frequency-dependant loss mechanisms (mainly scattering and dielectric attenuation) that occur on the radar signal in permafrost. Scattering was found to dominate the overall observed attenuation starting 100 MHz and increased with frequency. Preliminary results suggest that the scattering losses are of 0.58dB/m at 270MHz compared to 0.80dB/m at 900MHz. Dielectric losses showed less frequency dependence than the scattering ones. The output of this study aims to constrain the

  3. Sensing Biosignatures Within Rocks of the Atacama Desert — An Analog for Mars Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gnanaprakasa, T. J.; Domanik, K.; DiRuggiero, J.; Zega, T. J.

    2016-05-01

    We have been investigating potential biosignatures and mineral microstructure alteration of rocks from the Atacama desert in Chile. These materials represent martian analogs and are known to contain colonizing bacteria, to establish biosignatures.

  4. Definitive Mineralogical Analysis of Mars Analog Rocks Using the CheMin XRD/XRF Instrument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blake, D. F.; Sarrazin, P.; Bish, D. L.; Feldman, S.; Chipera, S. J.; Vaniman, D. T.; Collins, S.

    2004-01-01

    Mineral identification is a critical component of Mars Astrobiological missions. Chemical or elemental data alone are not definitive because a single elemental or chemical composition or even a single bonding type can represent a range of substances or mineral assemblages. Minerals are defined as unique structural and compositional phases that occur naturally. There are about 15,000 minerals that have been described on Earth, all uniquely identifiable via diffraction methods. There are likely many minerals yet undiscovered on Earth, and likewise on Mars. If an unknown phase is identified on Mars, it can be fully characterized by structural (X-ray Diffraction, XRD) and elemental analysis (X-ray Fluorescence, XRF) without recourse to other data because XRD relies on the principles of atomic arrangement for its determinations. XRD is the principal means of identification and characterization of minerals on Earth.

  5. Using Mars Mission Analogs and Authentic Experiences to Stimulate STEM Learning in K-14 Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klug, S. L.; Grigsby, B.; Valderrama, P.; Watt, K.

    2005-12-01

    Today, in many of the classrooms across our nation, K-12 educators are finding it more difficult to engage their students in the subjects that will help them to succeed to a more productive way of life - science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Finally, add to this formidable task a diverse set of learners (demographically and skill level) of an average classroom and the constraints of high stakes testing. Quite a challenge, indeed! The Arizona State University (ASU) Mars Education Program, in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Public Engagement Team have created programming, curriculum, and activities that help to bridge the gap between STEM learning and student interest. Starting with the Standards in the STEM areas - the areas which teachers are tasked to teach already, our team has modeled the STEM-based curriculum after the way that NASA's Mars team conducts their work and research. There is much challenge in the statement "Science for All Americans" when it comes to applying it equally to all classrooms across the U.S. To make sure that these curricular materials and hands-on experiences are available to any teacher and student, the ASU Mars Education Program has adopted a "high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech" approach. In other words, materials and programming have to be available and doable with whatever capabilities a classroom might possess. Using this approach, successful examples of Mars-based educational materials include Marsbound and the Mars Student Imaging Project. The Marsbound simulation is based on National Technology Standards and seemingly low tech. However, the simplicity of this simulation is quickly forgotten as it follows the familiar NASA scenario of building a mission to Mars with engineering constraints. Student teams use a set of equipment cards and a playmat (both available at no cost) to build their mission and balance it according to the constraints given. Students soon realize there is a lot of complexity to

  6. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and Eberswalde Crater of Mars: Quantitative Methods for Recognizing Poorly Developed Lacustrine Shorelines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jewell, P. W.

    2014-12-01

    The ability to quantify shoreline features on Earth has been aided by advances in acquisition of high-resolution topography through laser imaging and photogrammetry. Well-defined and well-documented features such as the Bonneville, Provo, and Stansbury shorelines of Late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville are recognizable to the untrained eye and easily mappable on aerial photos. The continuity and correlation of lesser shorelines must rely quantitative algorithms for processing high-resolution data in order to gain widespread scientific acceptance. Using Savitsky-Golay filters and the geomorphic methods and criteria described by Hare et al. [2001], minor, transgressive, erosional shorelines of Lake Bonneville have been identified and correlated across the basin with varying degrees of statistical confidence. Results solve one of the key paradoxes of Lake Bonneville first described by G. K. Gilbert in the late 19th century and point the way for understanding climatically driven oscillations of the Last Glacial Maximum in the Great Basin of the United States. Similar techniques have been applied to the Eberswalde Crater area of Mars using HRiSE DEMs (1 m horizontal resolution) where a paleolake is hypothesized to have existed. Results illustrate the challenges of identifying shorelines where long term aeolian processes have degraded the shorelines and field validation is not possible. The work illustrates the promises and challenges of indentifying remnants of a global ocean elsewhere on the red planet.

  7. The influence of slope morphology on gullies: Terrestrial gullies in Lake George as analogues for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobbs, S. W.; Paull, D. J.; Clarke, J. D. A.

    2013-06-01

    Terrestrial gullies provide a useful benchmark to compare martian gully forms against. We compare pole and equator facing gullies in an unnamed crater located in the martian southern mid-latitudes with gullies located on the Lake George escarpment south of Gearys Gap, New South Wales, Australia. Our investigations showed gully morphology at both sites is greatly influenced by thickness of readily erodable regolith, local slope and the presence or absence of bedrock exposures in the gullies. We found that the martian pole-facing gullies are the most similar to those of Lake George and both systems are therefore likely to have been eroded by liquid water. Although the martian gullies possessed much greater volumes of eroded sediment, they had not eroded to underlying bedrock. This contrasts with the smaller Lake George gully channels where numerous bedrock exposures, observed during our survey, affected their slope and overall morphology. Similarly, although dominated by dry processes, multiple bedrock exposures are present within the equator facing martian gullies affecting their cross sectional area and hence sediment transport. The studied sites all showed significant influence from initial slope angles, indicating that interpretation of gully forms such as slopes below the angle of repose, curved profiles and sinuosity must be placed in context of local environments. This analysis can be applied to other regions of Mars and Earth and provide a greater understanding of how geomorphologic processes operate on both worlds.

  8. Visible-near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy of volcanic acid-sulfate alteration in Nicaragua: Analogs for early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcucci, Emma C.; Hynek, Brian M.; Kierein-Young, Kathryn S.; Rogers, K. L.

    2013-10-01

    Acid-sulfate weathering at Nicaraguan hydrothermal sites Cerro Negro, Momotombo, and Telica volcanoes and Hervidores de San Jacinto mudpots was characterized as an analog for similar processes that likely operated on early Mars. In situ mineralogical analyses were conducted with a field portable visible near-infrared spectrometer for comparison to similar Martian data sets. Three classes of alteration minerals were identified: sulfates (gypsum and natroalunite), oxides/hydroxides (hematite and goethite), and phyllosilicates (kaolinite/halloysite, montmorillonite, and saponite), as well as elemental sulfur and hydrated silica phases. Our sites had similar suites of minerals, but frequencies varied with location. The results of this field campaign allow inferences regarding the paleo-environmental conditions that were likely present at similar relic hydrothermal sites identified on Mars. In particular, sulfates and phyllosilicates could have coevolved under hydrothermal conditions at Noctis Labyrinthus as is seen in Nicaragua. Fe/Mg smectites were detected in areas with pH of 3-4. Alunite spectra at Terra Sirenum demonstrated mineral mixing effects on spectroscopy. Mineral mixing can cause uncertainties in spectral identification due to a dominant spectrum, such as iron minerals, masking another or the suppression of weaker bands. When viewed from orbit, our field sites would likely be dominated by hydrated silica and Mars sites, such as one in Syrtis Major, could have a more diverse mineralogy than the data reveal. Concentrated amorphous silica, such as at Gusev crater, can result from acidic fumarolic activity, while Mg sulfates may indicate a lack of reworking by water. This field spectroscopy study helps confirm and provide insight into hydrothermal processes on ancient Mars.

  9. Biogenic Ba-rich Mn Oxide-Hydroxide Cemented Sandstone as Possible Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkley, J. L.

    2007-03-01

    A narrow exposure of black sandstone in western New York State displays cement consisting of Ba-rich Mn oxides/hydroxides. Cement mostly occurs as botryoidal laminae suggesting a bacterial origin. These rocks are interpreted as early-Mars-like fossil spri

  10. Differentiating Hydrothermal, Pedogenic, and Glacial Weathering in a Cold Volcanic Mars-Analog Environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scudder, N. A.; Horgan, B.; Havig, J.; Rutledge, A.; Rampe, E. B.; Hamilton, T.

    2016-01-01

    Although the current cold, dry environment of Mars extends back through much of its history, its earliest periods experienced significant water- related surface activity. Both geomorphic features (e.g., paleolakes, deltas, and river valleys) and hydrous mineral detections (e.g., clays and salts) have historically been interpreted to imply a "warm and wet" early Mars climate. More recently, atmospheric modeling studies have struggled to produce early climate conditions with temperatures above 0degC, leading some studies to propose a "cold and icy" early Mars dominated by widespread glaciation with transient melting. However, the alteration mineralogy produced in subglacial environments is not well understood, so the extent to which cold climate glacial weathering can produce the diverse alteration mineralogy observed on Mars is unknown. This summer, we will be conducting a field campaign in a glacial weathering environment in the Cascade Range, OR in order to determine the types of minerals that these environments produce. However, we must first disentangle the effects of glacial weathering from other significant alteration processes. Here we attempt a first understanding of glacial weathering by differentiating rocks and sediments weathered by hydrothermal, pedogenic, and glacial weathering processes in the Cascades volcanic range.

  11. Survival of Halophilic Archaea in the Stratosphere as a Mars Analog: A Transcriptomic Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DasSarma, S.; DasSarma, P.; Laye, V.; Harvey, J.; Reid, C.; Shultz, J.; Yarborough, A.; Lamb, A.; Koske-Phillips, A.; Herbst, A.; Molina, F.; Grah, O.; Phillips, T.

    2016-05-01

    On Earth, halophilic Archaea tolerate multiple extreme conditions similar to those on Mars. In order to study their survival, we launched live cultures into Earth’s stratosphere on helium balloons. The effects on survival and transcriptomes were interrogated in the lab.

  12. Iron (Oxyhydr)Oxide Biosignatures in the Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, Colorado Plateau, USA: Analog for Martian Diagenetic Iron

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potter-McIntyre, S. L.; Chan, M. A.; McPherson, B. J.

    2012-03-01

    Iron precipitates in modern microbial mats compared with iron cements in Jurassic alkaline saline lake sediments show that morphological and chemical biosignatures are present and preserved in oxidized, evaporative environments analogous to Mars.

  13. Using the Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) Method for Mapping Deep Groundwater Tables in Mars Analog Environments: a Baseline Field Study.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2004-05-01

    INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study is to explore the use of electromagnetic geophysical techniques for mapping deep groundwater tables in Mars analog environments. In order to provide a baseline for such studies, and to evaluate the appropriateness of the Transient Electro-Magnetic (TEM) method in mapping deep groundwater tables, a field study was carried out in an area in the desert approximatelt 30 miles southwest of Tucson Arizona. The field area was chosen for its convenient logistics and access to technical support, as well as for its appropriateness as a baseline Mars analog site. DISCUSSION: The surface conditions at the site are less than ideal if the main motivation is to look for analogs for surface working conditions on Mars, due to a fairly dense cover of cacti and thorny brush. However, in a situation like in the present study, where the subsurface analog is of more interest, vegetation cover is only a logistical issue. The subsurface in the field area is quite conductive, a result of its clay-rich soil, and this may at first thought seem to make it a less than ideal location for Mars analog studies. The contrary is the case, however: In having to deal with the very conductive environment at the field area location for this baseline study, it is ensured that results and conclusions drawn from this work regarding issues such as working in a conductive environment and achieving certain depths of investigation can indeed be applied to planning field studies elsewhere. Further, the study is also designed to observe the effects of powerline noise on electromagnetic data, again presenting a very-difficult case, and further aiding in building a baseline case that is overall appropriately more difficult than most field studies will be (in terms of achieving good signal-to-noise ratios and depths of investigation). The field survey consisted of 40 in-loop TEM stations, divided into 3 lines, for 4 line-km of data. The survey was carried out by a crew of one

  14. Exploration for Evidence of Habitable Environments and Life on Mars Can Benefit from Research in Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Des Marais, D. J.

    2014-12-01

    Analog studies help to understand the processes that might sustain any habitable environments on Mars and the attributes of organisms that might have inhabited them. These studies must consider key differences between Mars and Earth, for example, the ways that tectonics, impacts, hydrologic cycles, and aeolian processes have interacted to shape climate, the conditions in the near subsurface, and the processes that can preserve any evidence of any past habitable environments and life. Key questions include the following: How can we characterize Martian geochemical cycles of biogenic elements? What is the minimum chemical water activity of Mars-relevant aqueous solutions that might sustain the propagation by life as we know it? Can life persist inside rocks that have been altered isochemically at relatively low water/rock values? What are the minimum combinations of free energy and power needed to sustain life in Mars-relevant environments? Given the pervasive harsh conditions at the Martian surface, where and how can we seek evidence of any extant life? What kinds of nonbiological features that mimic biosignatures might be produced in potentially habitable Martian environments? Which methods can most effectively resolve Earthly contamination from potential Martian biosignatures in situ? What biosignatures might be produced by subsurface life and how can they be distinguished from abiotic features? How might we recognize evidence of any "life as we DON'T know it?" For future landing site selection, how can remotely sensed features be related more effectively to key attributes of habitable environments such as past availability and persistence of water, potential sources of biochemical energy, and favorable environmental conditions? Which Martian processes and environments are most favorable for preservation of evidence of any past environments and biosignatures? How can deposits that might be favorable for preservation be found and characterized from orbit? How can

  15. Topographic Roughness of Hawaiian Volcanic Terrains: A Scale-Dependent Analysis of a Potential Mars Landing Site Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, A. R.; Anderson, F.; Mouginis-Mark, P.; Haldemann, A.

    2006-12-01

    The roughness of a natural surface is often defined by the topography of the surface at scales of a few tens of meters or less and can be quantitatively described by self-affine, or fractal, statistics. To ensure the safety of rovers and scientific instruments on Mars, these scales are of critical importance during landing site selection and rover traverse operations. Published work on terrestrial and Martian topography datasets has demonstrated that statistical values such as the Hurst exponent can be used in conjunction with other statistical measures such as RMS slope to understand the relationship between scale-dependent roughness characteristics and the morphology of a surface. We seek to understand the effects of dataset resolution on the interpretation of various volcanic surfaces on Kilauea volcano, with applications to rover traverse navigation on remote, planetary surfaces. Extensive Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) coverage of the summit of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, (30 cm posting, 1 m DEM, 2 cm vertical resolution) provides an opportunity for simulating higher resolution Martian topography data such as will be obtained from photoclinometry and stereo imaging using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Using the method of calculating fractal statistics described in detail by previous authors, we develop two-dimensional maps of the Hurst exponent of Martian analog flows in Hawaii to understand the effects of limited resolution topographic and imaging data on the interpretation of volcanic features on the surface of Mars. In addition to the LiDAR data, we use high resolution topographic data generated from controlled stereo imaging of volcanic surfaces within Kilauea caldera to provide a detailed view of sub-meter surface roughness of the young volcanic terrains covered by the LiDAR data. To obtain the stereo data, we moved a 12.8 mega- pixel digital camera, pointed perpendicular to the

  16. Habitability: where lo look for life? Halophilic habitats: earth analogs to study Mars and Europá s habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Rodríguez, N.; Caballero Castrejón, J. F.; Amils, R.; Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A.

    2009-04-01

    Current Mars exploration is producing a considerable amount of information which requires comparison with terrestrial analogs in order to interpret and evaluate compatibility with possible extinct and/or extant life on the planet. The first astrobiological mission specially designed to detect life on Mars, the Viking missions, thought life unlikely, considering the amount of UV radiation bathing the surface of the planet, the resulting oxidative conditions, and the lack of adequate atmospheric protection. The necessity of the Europa surface exploration comes from the idea of a water ocean existence in its interior. Europa surface presents evidence of an active geology showing many tectonic features that seems to be connected with some liquid interior reservoir. Life needs several requirements for its establishment but, the only sine qua nom elements is the water, taking into account our experience on Earth extreme ecosystems The discovery of extremophiles on Earth widened the window of possibilities for life to develop in the universe, and as a consequence on Mars. The compilation of data produced by the ongoing missions (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity) offers a completely different view: signs of an early wet Mars and rather recent volcanic activity. The discovery of important accumulations of sulfates, and the existence of iron minerals like jarosite, goethite and hematite in rocks of sedimentary origin has allowed specific terrestrial models related with this type of mineralogy to come into focus. Río Tinto (Southwestern Spain, Iberian Pyritic Belt) is an extreme acidic environment, product of the chemolithotrophic activity of microorganisms that thrive in the massive pyrite-rich deposits of the Iberian Pyritic Belt. The high concentrations of ferric iron and sulfates, products of the metabolism of pyrite, generate a collection of minerals, mainly gypsum, jarosite, goethite and hematites, all of which

  17. Mineralization and Potential for Fossilization of an Extremotolerant Bacterium Isolated from a Past Mars Analog Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaboyer, F.; Bohmeier, M.; Foucher, F.; Le Milbeau, C.; Gautret, P.; Richard, A.; Sauldubois, A.; Guegan, R.; Westall, F.

    2016-05-01

    To better characterize the preservation of biomarkers during microbial fossilization, we mineralized a bacterial strain isolated from a cold-acidic-oligotrophic lake in SiO2 and CaSO4 and studied it using SEM, TEM, FT-IR, Raman, GC-MS or Rock-Eval.

  18. Properties of Subsurface Soil Cores from Four Geologic Provinces Surrounding Mars Desert Research Station, Utah: Characterizing Analog Martian Soil in a Human Exploration Scenario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Clarke, J. D. A.; Direito, S.; Foing, B.

    2011-01-01

    The DOMEX program is a NASA-MMAMA funded project featuring simulations of human crews on Mars focused on science activities that involve collecting samples from the subsurface using both manual and robotic equipment methods and analyzing them in the field and post mission. A crew simulating a human mission to Mars performed activities focused on subsurface science for 2 weeks in November 2009 at Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah --an important chemical and morphological Mars analog site. Activities performed included 1) survey of the area to identify geologic provinces, 2) obtaining soil and rock samples from each province and characterizing their mineralogy, chemistry, and biology; 3) site selection and reconnaissance for a future drilling mission; 4) deployment and testing of Mars Underground Mole, a percussive robotic soil sampling device; and 5) recording and analyzing how crew time was used to accomplish these tasks. This paper summarizes results from analysis of soil cores

  19. Laboratory reflectance spectra of clay minerals mixed with Mars analog materials: Toward enabling quantitative clay abundances from Mars spectra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roush, Ted L.; Bishop, Janice L.; Brown, Adrian J.; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas F.

    2015-09-01

    Quantitative estimates of clay minerals on the martian surface, via remote sensing observations, provide constraints on activity, timing, duration, and extent of aqueous processes and the geochemical environment in martian history. We describe an analytical study to begin enabling quantitative estimates of phyllosilicates when mixed with martian analog materials. We characterize the chemistry, mineralogy, particle size distribution, and reflectance spectra of the end-member materials: saponite, montmorillonite, pyroxene, and palagonitic soil. Reflectance spectra were obtained for physical mixtures of saponite and montmorillonite with pyroxene, and saponite with palagonitic soil. We analyzed the diagnostic phyllosilicate spectral signatures in the 2.2-2.4 μm wavelength region in detail for the mixtures. This involved fitting the observed ∼2.3 or ∼2.2 μm band depth, associated with the presence of saponite and montmorillonite, respectively, as a function of the abundance of these materials in the mixtures. Based upon the band depth of the spectral features we find that 3-5 wt.% of the clay minerals in the mixture with pyroxene can be recognized and at 25 wt.% their presence is indisputable in the mixtures. When the saponite is mixed with the lower albedo palagonitic soil, its presence is clearly distinguishable via the 1.4 and 2.3 μm features at 25 wt.% abundance. These relationships, between abundance and band depth, provide an ability to quantitatively address the amount of these materials in mixtures. The trends described here provide guidance for estimating the presence of phyllosilicates in matrices on the martian surface.

  20. Mariner photography of Mars and aerial photography of earth - Some analogies.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Belcher, D.; Veverka, J.; Sagan, C.

    1971-01-01

    Tentative characterizations of several Mariner 6 and 7 Martian surface features, made by the senior author in the absence of previous knowledge about Mars, are presented. The ridges in 7N17 are interpreted as a glacial moraine; barchane or parabolic sand dunes are identified in 6N5; and thermokarst collapse features, possibly produced in permafrost by Martian geothermal activity, are proposed in 6N8 and 6N14, in agreement with the suggestion of Sharp et al. (1971).

  1. Orbital and Ground-penetrating Radar Studies of Mars-analog Terrain in Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maxwell, T. A.; Grant, J. A.; Campbell, B. A.

    2007-05-01

    Several study groups have endorsed the concept of flying an imaging synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in orbit that would penetrate areas of thin surface cover revealing underlying terrain and providing additional information on surface roughness, physical properties and composition. Egypt provides many excellent terrestrial field sites to study both the processes that we expect to be revealed in a Mars SAR Mission, as well as the stratigraphic setting of past depositional environments that are similar to those seen in southern Egypt. We have used terrestrial orbital radar data for southern Egypt, comparing geologic materials and boundaries mapped in the field and with visible wavelengths (from Landsat) to those discerned via Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) -C, and field checking key sites to determine the depth, physical characteristics and types of geologic boundaries that contribute to the radar returns. In addition to stratigraphic mapping of the thickness and extent of near-surface units in the field, we have used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to determine the lateral extent and depth of subsurface interfaces. In this manner, we expect to learn more about the capabilities and limitations of orbital and ground-based systems, the trade-offs between frequency, polarization and resolution in Mars-like terrain for detecting buried interfaces and structures, and more about the geologic history of southern Egypt. Several studies have concentrated on one of the areas of prominent radar-detected channels near Bir Safsaf in the southwest desert, we have concentrated on the Bir Kiseiba region, an area where the mixture of gravel spreads, buried paleochannels, and alluvium creates a setting that may mimic outflow deposit locations on Mars. While bedrock incised channels may stand out in SAR images because of a near-surface, sharp dielectric interface (such as those at Safsaf and in northern Sudan), the more complex problem of distinguishing fluvial patterns in Mars

  2. Field Characterization of the Mineralogy and Organic Chemistry of Carbonates from the 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition by Evolved Gas Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Ten Kate, I. L.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Steele, A.; Amundson, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two geologic settings using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) [1] instrument suite, which will be on MSL, consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser mass spectrometer (TLS); all will be applied to analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) system represented the EGA-MS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples [e.g., 2]. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. AMASE 2010 focused on two sites that represented biotic and abiotic analogs. The abiotic site was the basaltic Sigurdfjell vent complex, which contains Mars-analog carbonate cements including carbonate globules which are excellent analogs for the globules in the ALH84001 martian meteorite [e.g., 3, 4]. The biotic site was the Knorringfjell fossil methane seep, which featured carbonates precipitated in a methane-supported chemosynthetic community [5]. This contribution focuses on EGA-MS analyses of samples from each site, with mineralogy comparisons to CheMin team results. The results give insight into organic content and organic-mineral associations, as well as some constraints on the minerals present.

  3. Olivine and Carbonate Globules in ALH84001: A Terrestrial Analog, and Implications for Water on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    2005-03-01

    Low-temperature carbonate globules in ALH84001 are found near olivine grains that equilibrated at T>800° C. Terrestrial analogs from Spitsbergen (Norway) suggest an explanation of this association; the carbonate globules may have been deposited in cavities where olivine had been dissolved out.

  4. Mars surface weathering products and spectral analogs: Palagonites and synthetic iron minerals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    There are several hypotheses regarding the formation of Martian surface fines. These surface fines are thought to be products of weathering processes occurring on Mars. Four major weathering environments of igneous rocks on Mars have been proposed; (1) impact induced hydrothermal alterations; (2) subpermafrost igneous intrusion; (3) solid-gas surface reactions; and (4) subaerial igneous intrusion over permafrost. Although one or more of these processes may be important on the Martian surface, one factor in common for all these processes is the reaction of solid or molten basalt with water (solid, liquid, or gas). These proposed processes, with the exception of solid-gas surface reactions, are transient processes. The most likely product of transient hydrothermal processes are layer silicates, zeolites, hydrous iron oxides and palagonites. The long-term instability of hydrous clay minerals under present Martian conditions has been predicted; however, the persistence of such minerals due to slow kinetics of dehydration, or entrapment in permafrost, where the activity of water is high, can not be excluded. Anhydrous oxides of iron (e.g., hematite and maghemite) are thought to be stable under present Martian surface conditions. Oxidative weathering of sulfide minerals associated with Martian basalts has been proposed. Weathering of sulfide minerals leads to a potentially acidic permafrost and the formation of Fe(3) oxides and sulfates. Weathering of basalts under acidic conditions may lead to the formation of kaolinite through metastable halloysite and metahalloysite. Kaolinite, if present, is thought to be a thermodynamically stable phase at the Martian surface. Fine materials on Mars are important in that they influence the surface spectral properties; these fines are globally distributed on Mars by the dust storms and this fraction will have the highest surface area which should act as a sink for most of the absorbed volatiles near the surface of Mars. Therefore

  5. Wound Healing and Mucosal Immunity During Short Mars Analog Environment Mission: Salivary Biomarkers and Its Clinical Implications

    PubMed Central

    Rai, Balwant; Kaur, Jasdeep; Foing, Bernard. H.

    2012-01-01

    Objective: Wound healing in an extreme environment with micro-gravity is not well characterized, despite the likelihood that the increasing use of manned spaceflight as a research and commercial enterprise raises the probability of traumatic injury in this state. Hence, this study was conducted to determine the impact of the isolated environment of the Mars Desert Research Station on mucosal immunity and wound healing. Materials and Methods: Two punch biopsy wounds were placed on the hard palate of two crewmembers. The first wound was made during summer vacation, whereas the second was placed on the contra-lateral side 3 days before the Mars analog mission began. Thus, each crewmember served as his/her own control. Two independent methods were used to assess healing. A ten-item perceived stress scale, salivary cortisol, Immunoglobulin A, IgG and IgM were measured. Results: There were significant differences in the proportion of the wound size healed between vacation and the mission. Salivary IgA, IgM, IgG and cortisol levels showed significant differences between vacation and mission. Conclusion: These data suggest that stress can have significant consequences for wound healing. The effects of stress on wound repair could have important clinical implications, including for recovery from surgery. PMID:25610211

  6. Experimental Tests of Micro-concretion Nucleation in Porous Media: A Laboratory Analog for Formation of Hematite Concretions on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barge, L. M.; Petruska, J.

    2009-04-01

    We present the results of diffusion experiments in combined glass bead and gel media that produced silver chromate precipitates under a variety of conditions. Precipitates took various forms including finger fluid fronts, rhythmic (Liesegang) bands, and mm-size spheroidal "concretions". The silver chromate spherules produced in our experiments are morphologically similar to spheroidal HFO "mini-concretions" that are commonly found in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Utah (USA), which are considered a terrestrial analog for the hematite concretions ("blueberries") discovered at Meridiani Planum, Mars (Chan et al. 2004, Nature). Like the Utah and Martian concretions, the spherules formed in our experiments exhibit a self-organized distribution, lack of an obvious macro nucleus, and ability to form "twin" morphologies. In all cases, the spheroidal precipitates nucleated under diffusion-controlled conditions, and some growth occurred although advection was not present. Other forms of precipitate such as periodic banding and fluid fronts were produced in our experiments as well, which also resemble types of iron mineral precipitation that are observed in the Navajo Sandstone, although thus far only spheroidal self-organized precipitates are seen on Mars. The presence of self-organized precipitates in the Utah and Martian environments most likely resulted from nucleation in a diffusion-controlled environment, and the specific morphology of iron oxide precipitates in porous and permeable systems is likely determined by chemical and physical parameters of the fluid environment in which they precipitated. Although the chemical conditions in our precipitation experiments are obviously very different from what would be expected in the Navajo Sandstone or on Mars, we show in this work how the morphology of self-organized mineral precipitates in a porous/permeable medium is affected by specific physical and chemical parameters.

  7. Exploration of a Subsurface Biosphere in a Volcanic Massive Sulfide: Results of the Mars Analog Rio Tinto Drilling Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Stevens, T.; Amils, R.; Fernandez, D.

    2005-12-01

    Biological systems on Earth require three key ingredients-- liquid water, an energy source, and a carbon source, that are found in very few extraterrestrial environments. Previous examples of independent subsurface ecosystems have been found only in basalt aquifers. Such lithotrophic microbial ecosystems (LME) have been proposed as models for steps in the early evolution of Earth's biosphere and for potential biospheres on other planets where the surface is uninhabitable, such as Mars and Europa.. The Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE) has searched in a volcanic massive sulfide deposit in Rio Tinto Spain for a subsurface biosphere capable of living without sunlight or oxygen and found a subsurface ecosystem driven by the weathering of the massive sulfide deposit (VMS) in which the rock matrix provides sufficient resources to support microbial metabolism, including the vigorous production of H2 by water-rock interactions. Microbial production of methane and sulfate occurred in the sulfide orebody and microbial production of methane and hydrogen sulfide continued in an anoxic plume downgradient from the sulfide ore. Organic carbon concentrations in the parent rock were too low to support microbes. The Rio Tinto system thus represents a new type of subsurface ecosystem with strong relevance for exobiological studies. Commercial drilling was used to reach the aquifer system at 100 m depth and conventional laboratory techniques were used to identify and characterize the biosphere. Then, the life search strategy that led to successful identification of this biosphere was applied to the development of a robotic drilling, core handling, inspection, subsampling, and life detection system built on a prototype planetary lander that was deployed in Rio Tinto Spain in September 2005 to test the capability of a robotic drilling system to search for subsurface life. A remote science team directed the simulation and analyzed the data from the MARTE robotic drill. The results

  8. Gullies on Mars: Origin by Snow and Ice Melting and Potential for Life Based on Possible Analogs from Devon Island, High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Cockell, Charles S.; McKay, Christopher P.

    2004-01-01

    Gullies on Devon Island, High Arctic, which form by melting of transient surface ice and snow covers and offer morphologic and contextual analogs for gullies reported on Mars are reported to display enhancements in biological activity in contrast to surrounding polar desert terrain.

  9. Rock Abrasion and Ventifact Formation on Mars from Field Analog, Theoretical, and Experimental Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bridges, N. T.; Laity, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    Rocks observed by the Viking Landers and Pathfinder Lander/Sojourner rover exhibit a suite of perplexing rock textures. Among these are pits, spongy textures, penetrative flutes, lineaments, crusts, and knobs Fluvial, impact, chemical alteration, and aeolian mechanisms have been proposed for many of these. In an effort to better understand the origin and characteristics of Martian rock textures, abraded rocks in the Mojave Desert and other regions have been studied. We find that most Martian rock textures, as opposed to just a few, bear close resemblance to terrestrial aeolian textures and can most easily be explained by wind, not other, processes. Flutes, grooves, and some pits on Mars are consistent with abrasion by saltating particles, as described previously. However, many other rock textures probably also have an aeolian origin. Sills at the base of rocks that generally lie at high elevations, such as Half Dome, are consistent with such features on Earth that are related to moats or soil ramps that shield the basal part of the rock from erosion. Crusts consisting of fluted fabrics, such as those on Stimpy and Chimp, are similar to fluted crusts on Earth that spall off over time. Knobby and lineated rocks are similar to terrestrial examples of heterogeneous rocks that differentially erode. The location of specific rock textures on Mars also gives insight into their origin. Many of the most diagnostic ventifacts found at the Pathfinder site are located on rocks that lie near the crests or the upper slopes of ridges. On Earth, the most active ventifact formation occurs on sloped or elevated topography, where windflow is accelerated and particle kinetic energy and flux are increased. Integrated 0 together, these observations point to significant aeolian 0 modification of rocks on Mars and cast doubt on whether many primary textures resulting from other processes are preserved. Experimental simulations of abrasion in the presence of abundant sand indicate that

  10. Precision Topography of Pluvial Features in Nevada as Analogs for Possible Pluvial Landforms on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimbelman, J. R.; Garry, W. B.; Irwin, R. P.

    2009-12-01

    Topographic measurements with better than 2 cm horizontal and 4 cm vertical precision were obtained for pluvial features in Nevada using a Trimble R8 Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), making use of both real-time kinematic and post-processed kinematic techniques. We collected ten transects across shorelines in the southern end of Surprise Valley, near the California border in NW Nevada, on April 15-17, 2008, plus five transects of shorelines and eight transects of a wavecut scarp in Long Valley, near the Utah border in NE Nevada, on May 5-7, 2009. Each transect consists of topographic points keyed to field notes and photographs. In Surprise Valley, the highstand shoreline was noted at 1533.4 m elevation in 8 of the 10 transects, and several prominent intermediate shorelines could be correlated between two or more transects. In Long Valley, the well preserved highstand shoreline elevation of 1908.7 m correlated (within 0.6 m) to the base of the wavecut scarp along a horizontal distance of 1.2 km. These results demonstrate that adherence to a geopotential elevation level is one of the strongest indicators that a possible shoreline feature is the result of pluvial processes, and that elevation levels of features can be clearly detected and documented with precise topographic measurements. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) is returning images of Mars that show potential shoreline features in remarkable detail (e.g., image PSP_009998_2165, 32 cm/pixel, showing a possible shoreline in NW Arabia). Our results from studying shorelines in Nevada will provide a basis for evaluating the plausibility of possible shoreline features on Mars, the implications of which are significant for the overall history of Mars.

  11. Part 2: Sedimentary geology of the Valles, Marineris, Mars and Antarctic dry valley lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nedell, Susan S.

    1987-01-01

    Detailed mapping of the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris, Mars from high-resolution Viking orbiter images revealed that they from plateaus of rhythmically layered material whose bases are in the lowest elevations of the canyon floors, and whose tops are within a few hundred meters in elevation of the surrounding plateaus. Four hypotheses for the origin of the layered deposits were considered: that they are eolian deposits; that they are remnants of the same material as the canyon walls; that they are explosive volcanic deposits; or that they were deposited in standing bodies of water. There are serious morphologic objections to each of the first three. The deposition of the layered deposits in standing bodies of water best explains their lateral continuity, horizontality, great thickness, rhythmic nature, and stratigraphic relationships with other units within the canyons. The Martian climatic history indicated that any ancient lakes were ice covered. Two methods for transporting sediment through a cover of ice on a martian lake appear to be feasible. Based on the presently available data, along with the theoretical calculations presented, it appears most likely that the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris were laid down in standing bodies of water.

  12. Insights from a Geophysical and Geomorphological Mars Analog Field Study at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Northwestern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGinnis, R. N.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Stillman, D.; Bjella, K.; Hooper, D. M.; Grimm, R. E.

    2010-12-01

    Terrestrial dune systems are used as natural analogs to improve understanding of the processes by which planetary dunes form and evolve. Selected terrestrial analogs are often warm-climate dune fields devoid of frozen volatiles, but cold-climate dunes offer a better analog for polar dunes on Mars. The cold-climate Great Kobuk Sand Dunes (GKSD) of Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska, are a high-latitude, slowly migrating analog for polar, inter- and intracrater dune fields on Mars. The 67°N latitude, 62 km2 GKSD consist of moderately well sorted, fine-grained sands deposited within the Kobuk River valley ~50 km north of the Arctic Circle and ~160 km inland from Kotzebue Sound. Winds at the GKSD are influenced significantly by complex surrounding topography, an influence that is similar to many high-latitude inter- and intracrater dune fields on Mars. Average annual temperature and precipitation at the GKSD are -5°C and 430 mm. The dune field is generally resistant to atmospheric forcing (wind) for a significant portion of the year because of snowcover, similar to the effect that seasonal CO2 and H2O frost mantling have on Martian polar dunes. The dune field, which ranges in elevation from 33 to 170 m above mean sea level, consists of sand sheets as well as climbing and reversing barchanoid, transverse, longitudinal, and star dunes. Several tributaries to the Kobuk River bound and dissect the GKSD, producing cutbank exposures and alcoves that reveal internal structure. We report results from our detailed geophysical and geomorphological site characterization field study, which was conducted near peak freeze conditions from March 15 through April 2, 2010. We used multifrequency ground-penetrating radar (25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 MHz) and capacitively coupled resistivity methods to image the internal structure of representative dunes, and performed ground truthing using a sampling auger, natural exposures, and Real-Time Kinematic Differential GPS. Data from twenty

  13. Olivine and Carbonate Globules in ALH84001: A Terrestrial Analog, and Implications for Water on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    2005-01-01

    Carbonate globules in ALH84001 are associated with small olivine grains an unexpected finding because the olivines equilibrated at high T while the carbonate is chemically zoned and unequilibrated. A possible explanation comes from a terrestrial analog on Spitsbergen (Norway), where some carbonate globules grew in cavities left by aqueous dissolution of olivine. For ALH84001, the same process may have acted, with larger olivines dissolved out and smaller ones shielded inside orthopyroxene. Carbonate would have been deposited in holes where the olivine had been. Later shocks crushed remaining void space, and mobilized feldspathic glass around the carbonates.

  14. Reflectance spectroscopy of ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Edwards, J. O.; Mancinelli, R. L.; Froschl, H.

    1995-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that smectites enhanced in the laboratory with additional ferric species exhibit important similarities to those of the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these chemically treated smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. New samples have been prepared with sulfate as well, because S was found by Viking to be a major component in the surface material on Mars. A suite of ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites, prepared with variable Fe3+ and S concentrations and variable pH conditions, has been analyzed using reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared regions, Mossbauer spectroscopy at room temperature and 4 K, differential thermal analysis, and X-ray diffraction. These analyses support the formation of ferrihydrite of variable crystallinity in the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonites and a combination of schwertmannite and ferrihydrite in the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites. Small quantities of poorly crystalline or nanophase forms of other ferric materials may also be present in these samples. The chemical formation conditions of the ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites influence the character of the low temperature Mossbauer sextets and the visible reflectance spectra. An absorption minimum is observed at 0.88-0.89 micrometers in spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing samples, and at 0.89-0.92 micrometers in spectra of the ferrihydrate-bearing montmorillonites. Mossbauer spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites indicate variable concentrations of ferrihydrite and schwertmannite in the interlaminar spaces and along grain surfaces. Dehydration under reduced atmospheric pressure conditions induces a greater effect on the adsorbed and interlayer water in ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite than on the water

  15. Mars Global Surveyor tests the Elysium Basin controversy: It's lava, not lake sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McEwen, A. S.; Edgett, K. S.; Malin, M. C.; Keszthelyi, L.; Lanagan, P.

    1998-10-01

    The Elysium Basin is a low, flat area that extends ~3000 km E-W and up to 700 km N-S, centered at 5 N, 195 W. Altimetric profiles reveal this to be one of the very flattest regions on Mars (Smith et al. 1998, Science 279, 1686). A controversy over the nature of the basin's surface and history has developed during the 1990s. This controversy has direct implications in the search for evidence of martian life and the selection of landing sites for upcoming Mars missions. Crater densities in the basin are among the very lowest on Mars, indicating a relatively young surface. Plescia (1990, Icarus, v. 88, p. 465-490) proposed that the plains were covered by low-viscosity volcanic flows, which filled previous water-cut channels. Scott and Chapman (1991, Proc. Lunar Planet. Sci., v. 21, p. 669-677) proposed that the basin was filled by a 1.5-km deep lake of water subsequent to the volcanism. To test the hypotheses about the recent geologic history of Elysium Basin, the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC) acquired images (3.6 to 20 m/pixel) in regions that were poorly resolved (>200 m/pixel) during the Viking mission. The MOC images were obtained during 8 orbits in April and June, 1998. The new images reveal what appears to be the surface of an extensive lava plains with ponded, flood-like flows. The surface in several locations (separated by 100s of km) is characterized by relatively dark plates that have separated from more extensive dark surfaces and moved laterally. The plates can be reconstructed like a jigsaw puzzle. There are also sinuous pressure ridges up to 10 meters wide and a few meters high (with slopes > 50 degrees) and shear structures. The surface appears pristine at this scale, unmodified by wind or water, although the color properties and thermal inertia indicate a coating of dust. The platey-textured lavas are also seen to extend well into the Marte Vallis channel system. The images show no evidence for lacustrine sediment or shorelines. These results confirm that

  16. Thermokarst lakes and ponds on Mars in the very recent (late Amazonian) past

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soare, Richard J.; Osinski, Gordon R.; Roehm, Charlotte L.

    2008-07-01

    The history of water is fundamental to understanding the geological evolution of Mars and to questions concerning the possible development of life on the Red Planet. Today, Mars is cold and dry; its regolith is permanently frozen and except under highly localised and transient conditions, liquid water is unstable at the surface. Intriguingly, we have identified geological features that could be markers of very late-Amazonian "wet" or ice-rich periglacial processes in Utopia and western Elysium Planitiae: 1. rimless, flat-floored and lobate, sometimes scalloped, depressions that are suggestive of terrestrial alases (evaporated/drained thermokarst lakes); 2. small-sized polygonal patterned-ground (perhaps formed by thermal-contraction cracking and possibly underlain by ice wedges); and, 3. circular/near-circular raised-rim depressions (consistent in morphology and scale with pingo-scars) that are nested in rimless depressions. In terrestrial cold-climate, non-glacial environments, landscape assemblages of this type occur only in the presence of ice-rich permafrost. Commenting upon the origin of the putative periglacial features on Mars, most workers have suggested that sublimation and not evaporation has been the dominant process. By contrast, we propose that two key characteristics of the rimless depressions - inner terraces and orthogonally-oriented polygons - are markers of stable, ponded water and its slow loss by evaporation or drainage. If the raised-rim landforms are pingo scars, then this also points to boundary conditions that are supportive of stable liquid water. With regard to the relative age of the features described above, previous work identified some lobate depressions superposed on crater-rim gullies in the region ( Soare et al., 2007). Gullies could be amongst the youngest geological features on Mars; superposed depressions point to an origin that is more youthful than the gullies. In turn, as some raised-rim landforms are superposed on rimless

  17. Thermally altered palagonitic tephra - A spectral and process analog to the soil and dust of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, J. F.; Morris, R. V.; Adams, J. B.

    1993-02-01

    Six palagonitic soil samples (PH-1 through PH-6) which were collected at 30-cm intervals from a lava slab on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are studied. The samples present an alteration sequence caused by heating during emplacement of molten lava over a preexisting tephra cone. Techniques employed include visible and near-IUR spectroscopy, Moessbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic analysis. The four samples closest to the slab (PH-1 through PH-4) were strongly altered in response to heating during its emplacement; their iron oxide mineralogy is dominated by nanophase ferric oxide. The sample adjacent to the slab (PH-1) has a factor of 3 less H2O and contains crystalline hematite and magnetite in addition to nanophase ferric oxide. It is argued that localized thermal alteration events may provide a volumetrically important mechanism for the palagonitization of basaltic glass and the production of crystalline ferric oxides on Mars.

  18. Kinetic Fractionation of Stable Isotopes in Carbonates on Mars: Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Golden, D. C.; Ming, Douglas W.; McKay, Gordon A.

    2003-01-01

    An ancient Martian hydrosphere consisting of an alkali-rich ocean would likely produce solid carbonate minerals through the processes of evaporation and/or freezing. We postulate that both (or either) of these kinetically-driven processes would produce carbonate minerals whose stable isotopic compositions are highly fractionated (enriched) with respect to the source carbon. Various scenarios have been proposed for carbonate formation on Mars, including high temperature formation, hydrothermal alteration, precipitation from evaporating brines, and cryogenic formation. 13C and 18O -fractionated carbonates have previously been shown to form kinetically under some of these conditions, ie.: 1) alteration by hydrothermal processes, 2) low temperature precipitation (sedimentary) from evaporating bicarbonate (brine) solutions, and 3) precipitation during the process of cryogenic freezing of bicarbonate-rich fluids. Here we examine several terrestrial field settings within the context of kinetically controlled carbonate precipitation where stable isotope enrichments have been observed.

  19. Thermally altered palagonitic tephra - A spectral and process analog to the soil and dust of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, James F., III; Morris, Richard V.; Adams, John B.

    1993-01-01

    Six palagonitic soil samples (PH-1 through PH-6) which were collected at 30-cm intervals from a lava slab on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are studied. The samples present an alteration sequence caused by heating during emplacement of molten lava over a preexisting tephra cone. Techniques employed include visible and near-IUR spectroscopy, Moessbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic analysis. The four samples closest to the slab (PH-1 through PH-4) were strongly altered in response to heating during its emplacement; their iron oxide mineralogy is dominated by nanophase ferric oxide. The sample adjacent to the slab (PH-1) has a factor of 3 less H2O and contains crystalline hematite and magnetite in addition to nanophase ferric oxide. It is argued that localized thermal alteration events may provide a volumetrically important mechanism for the palagonitization of basaltic glass and the production of crystalline ferric oxides on Mars.

  20. Terrestrial Analogs for Clay Minerals at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H; Morris, Richard V.; Bristow, Thomas; Ming, Douglas W.; Achillies, Cherie; Bish, David L.; Blake, David; Vaniman, David; Chipera, Steve

    2013-01-01

    Sediments of the Sheepbed unit, Gale Crater, were analyzed by the CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument on the Curiosity Rover. The sediments consist of typical basalt minerals (Fe-forsterite, augite, pigeonite, plagioclase), as well as Fe oxide/hydroxides, Fesulfides, amorphous material, and a phyllosilicate. The phyllosilicate has a broad 001 peak at approx 1.0 nm, consistent with a poorly ordered smectite. However, in the absence of diagnostic tests possible on Earth, its identity is not clear. The position of the 06L diffraction band is generally used to distinguish dioctahedral from trioctahedral smectite, but it is beyond CheMin's range of 2 Theta. The measured position of the 02L diffraction band (approx 22.5deg 2 Theta by CheMin), implies that the smectite is trioctahedral. The exact position and shape of the 02L band is determined by the cations in the 'M' sites of the smectite; to constrain those cations, we sought analogs among terrestrial smectites, emphasizing those developed from basaltic precursors. A potential analog for the Sheepbed smectite is 'griffithite,' a variety of trioctahedral smectite in altered basalt of the Topanga formation, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. 'Griffithite' has an 02L diffraction band that is close in position and shape to that of the Sheepbed smectite, although 'griffithite' has a very sharp 001 peak, indicating a high degree of layer ordering not seen in the Sheepbed smectite. A typical chemical formula for 'griffithite,' determined by electron microprobe, is (Ca0.59 Na0.03) (Mg4.28 Fe1.83) (Si6.64 Al1.36) O20 (OH)4, normalized to Si+Al=8. This formula is consistent with a fully trioctahedral Fe-Mg smectite with Ca and Na as interlayer cations. In the Topanga basalt, four types of 'griffithite' are present: fine-grained, filling cracks and vesicles; coarse-grained, filling vesicles; coarse-grained, replacing olivine phenocrysts; and coarse-grained, replacing glassy mesostasis. The fine-grained 'griffithite' formed first, and

  1. Cryogenic Origin for Mars Analog Carbonates in the Bockfjord Volcanic Complex Svalbard (Norway)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Amundsen, H. E. F.; Benning, L.; Blake, D. F.; Fogel, M.; Ming, D.; Skidmore, M.; Steele, A.

    2011-01-01

    The Sverrefjell and Sigurdfjell eruptive centers in the Bockfjord Volcanic Complex (BVC) on Svalbard (Norway) formed by subglacial eruptions ca. 1 Ma ago. These eruptive centers carry ubiquitous magnesian carbonate deposits including dolomitemagnesite globules similar to those in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Carbonates in mantle xenoliths are dominated by ALH84001 type carbonate globules that formed during quenching of CO2-rich mantle fluids. Lava hosted carbonates include ALH84001 type carbonate globules occurring throughout lava vesicles and microfractures and massive carbonate deposits associated with vertical volcanic vents. Massive carbonates include < or equal 5 cm thick magnesite deposits protruding downwards into clear blue ice within volcanic vents and carbonate cemented lava breccias associated with volcanic vents. Carbonate cements comprise layered deposits of calcite, dolomite, huntite, magnesite and aragonite associated with ALH84001 type carbonate globules lining lava vesicles. Combined Mossbauer, XRD and VNIR data show that breccia carbonate cements at Sverrefjell are analog to Comanche carbonates at Gusev crater.

  2. Fluvial Channel Networks as Analogs for the Ridge-Forming Unit, Sinus Meridiani, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilkinson, M. J.; du Bois, J. B.

    2010-01-01

    Fluvial models have been generally discounted as analogs for the younger layered rock units of Sinus Meridiani. A fluvial model based on the large fluvial fan provides a possibly close analog for various features of the sinuous ridges of the etched, ridge-forming unit (RFU) in particular. The close spacing of the RFU ridges, their apparently chaotic orientations, and their organization in dense networks all appear unlike classical stream channel patterns. However, drainage patterns on large fluvial fans low-angle, fluvial aggradational features, 100s of km long, documented worldwide by us provide parallels. Some large fan characteristics resemble those of classical floodplains, but many differences have been demonstrated. One major distinction relevant to the RFU is that channel landscapes of large fans can dominate large areas (1.2 million km2 in one S. American study area). We compare channel morphologies on large fans in the southern Sahara Desert with ridge patterns in Sinus Meridiani (fig 1). Stream channels are the dominant landform on large terrestrial fans: they may equate to the ubiquitous, sinuous, elongated ridges of the RFU that cover areas region wide. Networks of convergent/divergent and crossing channels may equate to similar features in the ridge networks. Downslope divergence is absent in channels of terrestrial upland erosional landscapes (fig. 1, left), whereas it is common to both large fans (fig. 1, center) and RFU ridge patterns (fig 1, right downslope defined as the regional NW slope of Sinus Meridiani). RFU ridge orientation, judged from those areas apparently devoid of impact crater control, is broadly parallel with the regional slope (arrow, fig. 1, right), as is mean orientation of major channels on large fans (arrow, fig. 1, center). High densities per unit area characterize fan channels and martian ridges reaching an order of magnitude higher than those in uplands just upstream of the terrestrial study areas fig. 1. In concert with

  3. Thermal contraction crack polygons on Mars: A synthesis from HiRISE, Phoenix, and terrestrial analog studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levy, Joseph S.; Marchant, David R.; Head, James W.

    2010-03-01

    Thermal contraction crack polygons are complex landforms that have begun to be deciphered on Earth and Mars by the combined investigative efforts of geomorphology, environmental monitoring, physical models, paleoclimate reconstruction, and geochemistry. Thermal contraction crack polygons are excellent indicators of the current or past presence of ground ice, ranging in ice content from weakly cemented soils to debris-covered massive ice. Relative to larger topographic features, polygons may form rapidly, and reflect climate conditions at the time of formation—preserving climate information as relict landforms in the geological record. Polygon morphology and internal textural characteristics can be used to distinguish surfaces modified by the seasonal presence of a wet active layer or dry active layer, and to delimit subsurface ice conditions. Analysis of martian polygon morphology and distribution indicates that geologically-recent thermal contraction crack polygons on Mars form predominantly in an ice-rich latitude-dependent mantle, more likely composed of massive ice deposited by precipitation than by cyclical vapor diffusion into regolith. Regional and local heterogeneities in polygon morphology can be used to distinguish variations in ice content, deposition and modification history, and to assess microclimate variation on timescales of ka to Ma. Analyses of martian polygon morphology, guided by investigations of terrestrial analog thermal contraction crack polygons, strongly suggest the importance of excess ice in the formation and development of many martian thermal contraction crack polygons—implying the presence of an ice-rich substrate that was fractured during and subsequent to obliquity-driven depositional periods and continually modified by ongoing vapor equilibration processes.

  4. Analog Testing of Operations Concepts for Integration of an Earth-Based Science Team During Human Exploration of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chappell, Steven P.; Beaton, Kara H.; Graff, Trevor; Newton, Carolyn; Abercromby, Andrew F.; Gernhardt, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) is an underwater spaceflight analog that allows a true mission-like operational environment and uses buoyancy effects and added weight to simulate different gravity levels. A mission was undertaken in 2016, NEEMO 21. The mission was performed at the Aquarius undersea research habitat. During the mission, the effects of varying operations concepts on representative communication latencies associated with Mars missions were studied. Six subjects were weighed out to simulate near-zero or partial gravity and evaluated different operations concepts for integration and management of a simulated Earth-based science team (ST) to provide input and direction during exploration activities. Exploration traverses were planned in advance based on precursor data collected. Subjects completed science-related tasks including pre-sampling surveys and marine science-based sampling as a portion of their tasks on saturation dives up to 4 hours in duration that were to simulate extravehicular activity (EVA) on Mars. A one-way communication latency of 15 minutes between space and mission control was simulated throughout the missions. Objective data included task completion times, total EVA times, crew idle time, translation time, SBT assimilation time (defined as time available for ST to discuss data/imagery after it has been collected, in addition to the time taken to watch imagery and listen to audio streaming over latency). Subjective data included acceptability, simulation quality, capability assessment ratings, and comments. Results were collected and will be presented on the acceptability of the operations concepts studied and which capabilities are the most enabling/enhancing in the operations concept. Discussion is presented on the importance of designing EVA timelines to account for the length of the task, level of interaction with the ground that is required/desired, and communication latency.

  5. Terrestrial Analogs to Wind-Related Features at the Viking and Pathfinder Landing Sites on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Bridges, Nathan T.; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Laity, Julie E.

    2002-01-01

    Features in the Mojave Desert and Iceland provide insight into the characteristics and origin of Martian wind-related landforms seen by the Viking and Pathfinder landers. The terrestrial sites were chosen because they exhibit diverse wind features that are generally well understood. These features have morphologies comparable to those on Mars and include origins by deposition and erosion, with erosional processes modifying both soils and rocks. Duneforms and drifts are the most common depositional features seen at the Martian landing sites and indicate supplies of sand-sized particles blown by generally unidirectional winds. Erosional features include lag deposits, moat-like depressions around some rocks, and exhumed soil horizons. They indicate that wind can deflate at least some sediments and that this process is particularly effective where the wind interacts with rocks. The formation of ripples and wind tails involves a combination of depositional and erosional processes. Rock erosional features, or ventifacts, are recognized by their overall shapes, erosional flutes, and characteristic surface textures resulting from abrasion by windblown particles. The physics of saltation requires that particles in ripples and duneforms are predominantly sand-sized (60-2000 microns). The orientations of duneforms, wind tails, moats, and ventifacts are correlated with surface winds above particle threshold. Such winds are influenced by local topography and are correlated with winds at higher altitudes predicted by atmospheric models.

  6. Stratigraphic profiling with ground-penetrating radar in permafrost: A review of possible analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arcone, Steven A.; Prentice, Michael L.; Delaney, Allan J.

    2002-11-01

    We review our past and ongoing use of ground-penetrating radar to investigate permafrost in Alaska and in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The results may be relevant to radar efforts on Mars because of arid conditions and the presence of ice. The pulses were centered at 50, 100, and 400 MHz. We interpret profiles from two sites in the eastern Taylor Valley to show glaciolacustrine and glaciofluvial stratigraphy. The maximum depth of stratigraphy profiled there was about 33 m. Near Fairbanks, Alaska, the depth of penetration at 50 MHz was near 80 m in marginally frozen and stratified alluvial sands. At the Fairbanks sites, supplementary drilling was required to differentiate between reflections from conductive bedrock, a graphitic schist, and those from the water table at depths of 20-25 m. At a site on the North Slope of Alaska, we profiled present and remnant freezing fronts in an alluvial floodplain. The relative permittivity at most sites ranged between about 4 and 5.5, which is consistent with dry conditions, the mineralogy, and low ice content. Weak interface reflectivity or the lack of further interfaces may have limited the interpretation of maximum penetration where no water table was present because signal absorption should have been low and scarce diffractions imply that scattering was weak. The interface reflectivities beneath Taylor Valley may be a function of only density contrasts, since free water, and possibly ice, is absent.

  7. Pu'u Poli'ahu, Mauna Kea: A Possible Analog for the Hematite Bearing Layer Located in Gale Crater, Mars.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, M. E.

    2014-01-01

    Hyperspectral data detected by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicated the presence of a hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp situated in the Gale Crater, Mars. [Fraeman]. The presence of this mineral in high concentrations is indicative of possible aqueous origins. [Fraeman] In 2012, Curiosity Rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity's mission is to determine Mars' habitability and is equipped with an advanced suite of scientific instruments that are capable of conducting analyses on rocks and soil. The hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp is thought to be a good candidate of study for Curiosity. To better understand this type of terrain, the study of analog sites similar in geologic setting is of great importance. One site thought to be a comparable analog is a cinder cone called Pu'u Poli'ahu located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai?i. Poli'ahu is unique among the tephra cones of Mauna Kea because it is thought to have formed in subaqueous conditions approximately 170,000 to 175,000 years ago. [Porter] Consequently located on the inner flanks of Poli'ahu is a rock outcrop that contains hematite. Samples were collected from the outcrop and characterized using the following instruments: Digital Microscope, Panalytical X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The initial preparation of the rocks involved documenting each sample by creating powdered samples, thick sections, and photo documentation.

  8. Alteration Mineralogy and Geochemistry at Swansea, Arizona: A Potential Analog for Brine-Basalt Interaction on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalski, J. R.; Reynolds, S. J.; Sharp, T. G.; Christensen, P. R.

    2002-12-01

    fluids that altered each locality are likely genetically related, but their chemistry may reflect evolution of the fluid through time and space. Future work will include the development of a model for alteration of basalt by brine on the Earth and Mars. Although some of the variables between terrestrial analogs and Martian conditions are obviously different, this study may lead to models of alteration or albitization of basalt by brines on Mars.

  9. Rocky 7 prototype Mars rover field geology experiments 1. Lavic Lake and sunshine volcanic field, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arvidson, R. E.; Acton, C.; Blaney, D.; Bowman, J.; Kim, S.; Klingelhofer, G.; Marshall, J.; Niebur, C.; Plescia, J.; Saunders, R.S.; Ulmer, C.T.

    1998-01-01

    Experiments with the Rocky 7 rover were performed in the Mojave Desert to better understand how to conduct rover-based, long-distance (kilometers) geological traverses on Mars. The rover was equipped with stereo imaging systems for remote sensing science and hazard avoidance and 57Fe Mo??ssbauer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for in situ determination of mineralogy of unprepared rock and soil surfaces. Laboratory data were also obtained using the spectrometers and an X ray diffraction (XRD)/XRF instrument for unprepared samples collected from the rover sites. Simulated orbital and descent image data assembled for the test sites were found to be critical for assessing the geologic setting, formulating hypotheses to be tested with rover observations, planning traverses, locating the rover, and providing a regional context for interpretation of rover-based observations. Analyses of remote sensing and in situ observations acquired by the rover confirmed inferences made from orbital and simulated descent images that the Sunshine Volcanic Field is composed of basalt flows. Rover data confirmed the idea that Lavic Lake is a recharge playa and that an alluvial fan composed of sediments with felsic compositions has prograded onto the playa. Rover-based discoveries include the inference that the basalt flows are mantled with aeolian sediment and covered with a dense pavement of varnished basalt cobbles. Results demonstrate that the combination of rover remote sensing and in situ analytical observations will significantly increase our understanding of Mars and provide key connecting links between orbital and descent data and analyses of returned samples. Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.

  10. Contrasting oxidative stress response mechanisms in novel strains of Bacillus isolated from the Mars-analog, Mojave Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lera, M.; Marcu, O.

    2011-12-01

    Environmental conditions that limit the presence of life include ionizing radiation, extreme temperatures, and lack of water. These environments are common in our solar system and may contribute to the lack of apparent life. However, analogous environments here on Earth are host to a multitude of thriving microbial life. In order for microbes to survive in dry deserts, they must be must be able to adapt to transient diurnal and seasonal changes in the environment (water, temperature). To uncover response strategies to environmental stress that may prevent cellular damage and ensure adaptation and survival, two distinct, novel strains of Bacillus were isolated from the Mojave Desert (a Mars analog due to its arid conditions and high incidence of ultraviolet light) and classified by their partial 16S RNA gene sequences. These species, despite being closely related, exhibited radically different phenotypes and contrasting strategies for mitigating stress. The two strains had different growth rates, metabolic capacities and sporulation onset times when challenged by crowding and heat-shock. In response to hydrogen peroxide challenge, the intracellular levels of catalase activity, a peroxide-scavenging enzyme, differed for each strain, and were surprisingly lower than that of a non-desert control species of Bacillus. DNA repair mechanisms were more active in one strain than the other, and one isolate responded with an increase in expression of longevity gene orthologs involved in stress response. After multiple rounds of culturing, the peroxide degradation capacity, as well as the growth and sporulation rates remained constant for each strain, which suggests these are permanent features of each strain rather than transient responses. Taken together, these data uncover a diverse arsenal of response mechanisms employed by closely related species to combat stress. These adaptations may provide environmental-niche specificity and the diversity of life even in a scarce