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Sample records for agent petrified martian

  1. Stratigraphy of the upper Triassic Petrified Forest Member (Chinle Formation) in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Murry, P.A. )

    1990-09-01

    The Petrified Forest Member of the Triassic Chinle Formation in a Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona may be divided into a lower and upper unit by means of the Sonsela Sandstone Bed. Analysis of fossil vertebrates indicates that the Sonsela Sandstone Bed and upper Petrified Forest Member are characterized by a fauna distinct from that within the lower portion of the Petrified Forest Member. These faunas are believed to be of Norian and Carnian age respectively. Utilizing fossil vertebrates and certain lithostratigraphic units, especially the Sonsela Sandstone Bed and black forest tuff, exposures may be correlated within and between the Rainbow Forest, Blue Mesa, and Painted Desert areas of Petrified Forest National Park.

  2. Aeolian Abrasion, a Dominant Erosion Agent in the Martian Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, N.; Cooper, G.; Eddlemon, E.; Greeley, R.; Laity, J.; Phoreman, J.; Razdan, A.; van Note, S.; White, B.; Wilson, G.

    2004-12-01

    Aeolian abrasion is one of the predominant erosion mechanisms on Mars today. Martian ventifacts record the climate under which the rocks were modified (wind direction, wind speeds and particle flux) and therefore tie into the overall climatic regime of the planet. By better understanding the rates at which rocks abrade and the features diagnostic of specific climatic conditions, we can gain insight into past climates. Herein we report on numerical models, wind tunnel experiments, and field work to determine 1) Particle and kinetic fluxes on Earth and Mars, 2) the degree to which these parameters control abrasion, and 3) how, in detail, rocks of various shapes and compositions erode over time. Kinetic energy generally increases with height, whereas flux decreases, and impact angles, which affect energy transfer, and rebound effects are functions of the rock facet angle. This results in a non-linear relationship between abrasion potential and height that is a function of wind speed, planetary environment, and target geometry. We have computed the first three of these parameters numerically using a numerical saltation code, combined with published flux calculations These results have been compared to wind tunnel tests of flux vs. height, abrasion of erodible targets, and high speed video analysis under terrestrial and Martian pressures. We are also using high resolution laser scanning to characterize textures, shapes, and weathering changes for terrestrial and Martian rocks at the 100s of microns scale. We find that facet angle, texture, and rock heterogeneity are of critical importance in determining the rate and style of abrasion. Field and theoretical results demonstrate that high speed winds, not the integrated flux of lower speeds, and sand, not dust, produce most rock abrasion. On Mars, this requires sustained winds above 20-25 m/s at the near surface, a challenge in the current environment.

  3. Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Ground Penetrating Radar for locating buried petrified wood sites: a case study in the natural monument of the Petrified Forest of Evros, Greece

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vargemezis, George; Diamanti, Nectaria; Tsourlos, Panagiotis; Fikos, Ilias

    2014-05-01

    A geophysical survey was carried out in the Petrified Forest of Evros, the northernmost regional unit of Greece. This collection of petrified wood has an age of approximately 35 million years and it is the oldest in Greece (i.e., older than the well-known Petrified Forest of Lesvos island located in the North Aegean Sea and which is possibly the largest of the petrified forests worldwide). Protection, development and maintenance projects still need to be carried out at the area despite all fears regarding the forest's fate since many petrified logs remain exposed both in weather conditions - leading to erosion - and to the public. This survey was conducted as part of a more extensive framework regarding the development and protection of this natural monument. Geophysical surveying has been chosen as a non-destructive investigation method since the area of application is both a natural ecosystem and part of cultural heritage. Along with electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys have been carried out for investigating possible locations of buried fossilized tree trunks. The geoelectrical sections derived from ERT data in combination with the GPR profiles provided a broad view of the subsurface. Two and three dimensional subsurface geophysical images of the surveyed area have been constructed, pointing out probable locations of petrified logs. Regarding ERT, petrified trunks have been detected as high resistive bodies, while lower resistivity values were more related to the surrounding geological materials. GPR surveying has also indicated buried petrified log locations. As these two geophysical methods are affected in different ways by the subsurface conditions, the combined use of both techniques enhanced our ability to produce more reliable interpretations of the subsurface. After the completion of the geophysical investigations of this first stage, petrified trunks were revealed after a subsequent excavation at indicated

  4. Petrified Ears” in Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency

    PubMed Central

    Goswami, Soumik; Chakraborty, Partha Pratim; Ghosh, Sujoy; Chowdhury, Subhankar

    2016-01-01

    Petrification of the auricle, a rarely encountered clinical entity usually results from ectopic calcification of the auricular cartilages and manifests as rigid ear. The underlying pathogenesis remains ambiguous with several proposed hypotheses till date. Auricular calcification may be the sole cutaneous marker of underlying endocrinopathy at times. Adrenal insufficiency is the most common endocrinological disorder to be associated with such stiff ears and it has been described in both primary as well as secondary forms of the disease. We present here a 30-year-old man whose clinical condition deteriorated following levothyroxine supplementation and the presence of “petrified ears” ultimately provided a clue to the diagnosis of associated secondary adrenal insufficiency. PMID:27042511

  5. A Mixed Methods Analysis of the Effects of an Integrative Geobiological Study of Petrified Wood in Introductory College Geology Classrooms

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee M.; Wandersee, James H.

    2007-01-01

    Mixed methods research conducted across three semesters in introductory college geology classes (n=187, 190, 138) attempted to ascertain whether integrated study of petrified wood could serve as a portal to improved student geobiological understanding of fossilization, geologic time, and evolution. The Petrified Wood Survey[TM] was administered as…

  6. Martian sediments and sedimentary rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markun, C. D.

    1988-01-01

    Martian sediments and sedimentary rocks, clastic and nonclastic, should represent a high priority target in any future return-sample mission. The discovery of such materials and their subsequent analysis in terrestrial laboratories, would greatly increase the understanding of the Martian paleoclimate. The formation of Martian clastic sedimentary rocks, under either present, low-pressure, xeric conditions or a postulated, high-pressure, hydric environment, depends upon the existence of a supply of particles, various cementing agents and depositional basins. A very high resolution (mm-cm range) photographic reconnaissance of these areas would produce a quantum jump in the understanding of Martian geological history. Sampling would be confined to more horizontal (recent) surfaces. Exploration techniques are suggested for various hypothetical Martian sedimentary rocks.

  7. Pigmenting agents in Martian soils: inferences from spectral, Mossbauer, and magnetic properties of nanophase and other iron oxides in Hawaiian palagonitic soil PN-9

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, R. V.; Golden, D. C.; Lauer, H. V. Jr; Adams, J. B.

    1993-01-01

    We have examined a Hawaiian palagonitic tephra sample (PN-9) that has spectroscopic similarities to Martian bright regions using a number of analytical techniques, including Mossbauer and reflectance spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, instrumental neutron activation analysis, electron probe microanalysis, transmission electron microscopy, and dithionite-citrate-bicarbonate extraction. Chemically, PN-9 has a Hawaiitic composition with alkali (and presumably silica) loss resulting from leaching by meteoric water during palagonitization; no Ce anomaly is present in the REE pattern. Mineralogically, our results show that nanophase ferric oxide (np-Ox) particles (either nanophase hematite (np-Hm) or a mixture of ferrihydrite and np-Hm) are responsible for the distinctive ferric doublet and visible-wavelength ferric absorption edge observed in Mossbauer and reflectivity spectra, respectively, for this and other spectrally similar palagonitic samples. The np-Ox particles appear to be imbedded in a hydrated aluminosilicate matrix material; no evidence was found for phyllosilicates. Other iron-bearing phases observed are titanomagnetite, which accounts for the magnetic nature of the sample; olivine; pyroxene; and glass. By analogy, np-Ox is likely the primary pigmenting agent of the bright soils and dust of Mars.

  8. Martian seismicity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, Roger J.; Grimm, Robert E.

    1991-01-01

    The design and ultimate success of network seismology experiments on Mars depends on the present level of Martian seismicity. Volcanic and tectonic landforms observed from imaging experiments show that Mars must have been a seismically active planet in the past and there is no reason to discount the notion that Mars is seismically active today but at a lower level of activity. Models are explored for present day Mars seismicity. Depending on the sensitivity and geometry of a seismic network and the attenuation and scattering properties of the interior, it appears that a reasonable number of Martian seismic events would be detected over the period of a decade. The thermoelastic cooling mechanism as estimated is surely a lower bound, and a more refined estimate would take into account specifically the regional cooling of Tharsis and lead to a higher frequency of seismic events.

  9. Martian surface

    SciTech Connect

    Carr, M.H.

    1987-03-01

    The surface of Mars is characterized on the basis of reformatted Viking remote-sensing data, summarizing results published during the period 1983-1986. Topics examined include impact craters, ridges and faults, volcanic studies (modeling of surface effects on volcanic activity, description and interpretation of volcanic features, and calculations on lava-ice interactions), the role of liquid water on Mars, evidence for abundant ground ice at high latitudes, water-cycle modeling, and the composition and dynamics of Martian dust.

  10. Martian Biosignatures: Tantalizing Evidence Within Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, E. K.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    2016-05-01

    Several of the martian meteorites offer a unique opportunity to study possible biosignatures over the history of Mars. Reduced carbon components have been found within the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration phases (iddingsite) of martian meteorites.

  11. Investigation of the isotopic ratio 129I/I in petrified wood.

    PubMed

    Jabbar, Tania; Steier, Peter; Wallner, Gabriele; Cichocki, Otto; Sterba, Johannes H

    2013-06-01

    In fossil specimens, measurements of the natural isotopic ratio (129)I/I may provide a method to estimate the age of sample. The motivation for measuring the isotopic composition ((129)I/I) of petrified wood samples collected from Austria was to check this feasibility. Alkaline fusion together with anion exchange was used to extract iodine from the sample. Typical sample size for this study was 10-90 g. An atomic ratio as low as 10(-14) was determined using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Uranium concentrations measured by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and α-spectrometry were found to be less than 3 mg kg(-1), therefore the contribution from fissiogenic (129)I was small and an estimation of ages was based on the decrease of the initial ratio (due to decay of the cosmogenic (129)I in a closed system) after subtraction of the fissiogenic (129)I. The value of the prenuclear ratio is crucial for the use of the (129)I system for dating purposes in the terrestrial environment. From the preanthropogenic (initial) ratio of 1.5 × 10(-12) of the hydrosphere and the results of the present study for the samples from Altenburg (1.05 × 10(-12)) and Fuerwald (6.16 × 10(-13)), respective ages of 8 ± 2.2 and 20.2 ± 2.2 million years were derived. Since samples were collected from a stratum deposited in the Upper Oligocene/Ergerien period (~25-30 million years ago), it can be concluded that these isotopic ratios do not show ages but an elapsed time since fossil wood was isolated from mineral rich water. Paleontological investigation shows that samples from Altenburg had mixed characteristics of old and modern Tertiary plants, thus an origin from a younger stratum re-sedimented with Oligocene cannot be excluded. However, the sample from Drasenhofen reflects that the (129)I/I system might not always be suitable for the dating of petrified wood sample due to fixation of anthropogenic (129)I into surface fractures. PMID:23416227

  12. Martian Habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.

    2012-09-01

    Due to the reported Mars surface environmental conditions (Klein, 1978) (oxidative stress, high UV radiation levels, etc.) the possibility for life development in the surface of the red planet is very small. The identification of water-ice on the subsurface on Mars by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer onboard of the Mars Odyssey (Kieffer and Titus, 2001) and from the High Energy Neutron Detector (Litvak, et al., 2006) has important astrobiological connotations, because in addition to be a potential source for water, these locations are shielding habitats against the harsh conditions existing on the planet, like UV radiation (Gomez, et al., 2007; Gomez, et al., 2012). Martian habitability potential could change in particular located micro-niches. Salt deliquescence and hard environmental parameters modification could be relevant for life under protected niches. An example could be endolithic niches inside salt deposits used by phototrophs for taking advantage of sheltering particular light wavelengths. Similar acidic salts deposits are located in Río Tinto extreme environment with shelter life forms which are difficult to localize by eye. Techniques for its localization and study during space missions are needed to develop. Extreme environments are good scenarios where to test and train those techniques and where hypothetical Astrobiological space missions could be simulated for increasing possibilities of micro niches identification. Here we will report some experiments of bacteria exposition to Martian surface conditions in Mars Simulation chamber. Bacteria were shelter and exposed included in simulated salty endolithic micro niches. High percentage of bacteria resistance and adaptation to harsh extreme those conditions was reported (Gómez, F. et al., 2010). These results were used to develop and implement a Habitability Index to study Martian habitability during the next MSL mission to Mars landed on August 2012 on the surface of the red planet.

  13. Martian Fingerprints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    9 April 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows patterned ground on the martian northern plains. The circular features are buried meteor impact craters; the small dark dots associated with them are boulders. The dark feature at left center is a wind streak.

    Location near: 75.1oN, 303.0oW Image width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Summer

  14. Petrified Forest National Park Invasive Plant Species Survey and Mapping; 2002-2005

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thomas, Kathryn A.; Hunt, Randall; Arundel, Terry R.; Guertin, P.

    2009-01-01

    We conducted a survey for invasive nonnative plant species at Petrified Forest National Park from 2002 through 2005. The survey employed a unique sampling design consisting of a grid of consecutive one-hectare cells as the sampling units. Our use of predetermined sampling units allowed all observations to be referenced to a fixed area with geographic coordinates that easily transferred to a geographic information system. Our field team surveyed 2,730 sampling units in three select areas for at least 1 year and 879 sampling units for 4 years. During this period we identified 40 different invasive plant species; more than half the invasive plants (22 species) were annual forbs and grasses. Four invasive plant species occurred in 25 percent or more of all sampling units observed in one or more years: Bromus tectorum, Erodium cicutarium, Salsola tragus, and Sisymbrium altissimum. Salsola tragus was the most abundant species in all years and occurred in more than 55 percent of all sampling units surveyed each year.

  15. Martian Infotech

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Covault, Craig

    2005-01-01

    The U.S. is beginning an $800-million project to create an information technology infrastructure at Mars. This will be essentially a Martian internet where robotic spacecraft will conduct high-data-rate exchanges between themselves and with their Earth-based teams. The objective is to better control increasingly ambitious robotic missions and to return more imagery and data from those flights for faster distribution to the science community and public. The focal point will be the Mars Telecommunication Orbiter (MTO), a Mars orbiting communications satellite already approved and funded by Congress for launch to the red planet in 2009.MTO's advanced operational microwave capability should be able to relay to Earth magnitudes more information than current spacecraft, as well as near real-time images from Nasa's next generation of rovers, also set for launch in 2009.

  16. Paleocene paleosols of the petrified forests of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: A Natural Experiment in compound pedogenesis

    SciTech Connect

    Fastovsky, D.E. ); McSweeney, K. )

    1991-02-01

    The Petrified Forest Plateau of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) in western North Dakota provides an excellent setting for exploring the influence of ancient, exhumed land surfaces upon modern ones. Here, a sequence of Paleocene rocks preserves a succession of ancient terrestrial land surfaces characterized by fine-grained, laminated sedimentary rocks and organic-rich horizons. These exposures are dominantly finer-grained than the rest of the sedimentary rocks in the Park, and represent a region inferred to have been distal to the bulk of an aggradational fluvial system. Water was abundant in the Plateau region, and during much of the time the landscapes were submerged. At least twice, large forests developed in soils forming on floodplain sediments. These paleosols are characterized by organic surficial horizons and gleyed subsoils. Coniferous stumps from two successive forests constitute the Petrified Forest preserved in TRNP today. The modern environments of the Petrified Forest Plateau contrast sharply with those of the ancient; they are characterized by intense seasonality, semi-aridity, steep topography, a degradational land surface, and low organic productivity. Despite this, the modern soils show an imprint deriving from ancient environmental conditions that is as strong as any imprint from Holocene pedogenic processes; the soils that are presently forming retain much of the waterlogged features of the Paleocene soils. While it is clear that soils do respond to environments, it is also clear that the response may vary, depending upon the nature of the soil material and morphologies inherited. Here, the development of a gleyed morphology has proven largely irreversible.

  17. The vegetation and climate of a Neogene petrified wood forest of Mizoram, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiwari, R. P.; Mehrotra, R. C.; Srivastava, Gaurav; Shukla, Anumeha

    2012-11-01

    Eleven fossil woods belonging to seven families are described from a petrified wood forest of Mizoram. This fossil assemblage is derived from sediments belonging to the Tipam Group considered to be Late Miocene-Early Pliocene in age. The modern counterparts of the identified taxa are: Gluta L., Mangifera L. (Anacardiaceae), Bursera Jacq. ex L. (Burseraceae), Terminalia L. (Combretaceae), Shorea Roxb. (Dipterocarpaceae), Cynometra Linn., Dalbergia L. f., Millettia Wight et Arn.-Pongamia Vent, Ormosia Jacks. (Fabaceae), Artocarpus Forst. (Moraceae) and Madhuca Gmelin. (Sapotaceae). The genus Dalbergia is described for the first time from India. The modern environmental tolerances of the above taxa indicate the existence of a tropical warm and humid climate in Mizoram during the depositional period. The reconstructed climate data using Coexistence Approach (CoA) based on palaeoflora database of Mosbrugger and Utescher, along with other published data sets indicates an MAT (mean annual temperature) of 26.1-27.7 °C, a mean temperature of the warmest month (WMT) of 25.4-28.1 °C, a mean temperature of the coldest month (CMT) of 25.6-26 °C, and a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of 3180-3263 mm. These climatic interpretations are congruent with the data obtained from the anatomical features of all the fossil taxa. As all the fossil taxa possess diffuse porous wood, they further indicate a tropical climate with little seasonality. The majority of the taxa in the fossil assemblage generally have large vessels and simple perforation plates which indicate high precipitation. The present study provides vital evidence of floral exchange or migration between India and southeast Asia.

  18. Fluvial sedimentology of a Mesozoic petrified forest assemblage, Shishu Formation, Junggar foreland basin, Xinjiang, China

    SciTech Connect

    McKnight, C.L.; Gan, O.; Carroll, A.R.; Dilcher, D.; Zhao, M.; Liang, Y.H.; Graham, S.A.

    1988-02-01

    The Upper Jurassic(.) Shishu Formation of the eastern Junggar basin, Xinjiang, northwest China, is a fluvial sand unit containing an important assemblage of well-preserved, silicified tree trunks and rooted stumps. Numerous logs, up to 83 ft (25.5 m) long, occur at several levels within a 33.6-ft (10.3 m) stratigraphic section of fluvial sand, gravel, and mud and several paleosol horizons. The uppermost logbearing layer includes a number of rooted tree stumps in growth position, with diameters of up to 8 ft (2.5 m). The maximum root length observed is 40 ft (12.3 m). The trees have been identified by Chinese paleontologists as Cupressinoxylon. The petrified forest assemblage is preserved on the northeast margin of the Mesozoic Junggar foreland basin, a large continental basin subsiding under thrust loading from the south. Logs found within channel gravel units are oriented with their log axes parallel to the channel axis. Sedimentary structures, including epsilon and trough cross-stratification and imbricated channel gravels, indicate paleocurrent flow generally to the south, toward the basin center. The size of the logs suggests the presence of a major fluvial system. The epsilon cross-sets suggest a channel depth of 26 ft (8 m). The oriented silicified logs and their enclosing clastic sediments provide important information on the depositional systems active on the northeastern margin of the Junggar basin in the Late Jurassic(.) time. Hopefully, further detailed study of the fossil trees, including the spacing of the rooted stumps, will provide new information on the paleoecology of Mesozoic forests and the climatic conditions prevailing in the region at the time of deposition.

  19. Weathering of Martian Evaporites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wentworth, S. J.; Velbel, M. A.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Longazo, T. G.; McKay, D. S.

    2001-01-01

    Evaporites in martian meteorites contain weathering or alteration features that may provide clues about the martian near-surface environment over time. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  20. Enigmatic organosiliceous rocks in the 2000 Ma petrified oil field in Russian Fennoscandia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deines, Yu.; Melezhik, V.; Lepland, A.; Filippov, M.; Romashkin, A.; Rychanchik, D.

    2009-04-01

    The c. 2000 Ma, 900 m-thick, Zaonezhskaja Formation in the Onega basin, Russian Fennoscandia, contains one of the greatest accumulations of organic matter (OM) in the Early Precambrian. It also represents a unique preservation of a supergiant petrified oil field. Zaonezhskaja Formation rocks are greenschist-facies volcaniclastic greywackes (distal turbidites), dolostone and limestones, mafic tuffs and lavas intruded by numerous mafic sills. Several sedimentary beds are enriched in OM with the overall content of total organic carbon (TOC) ranging from 0.1 to 16 wt.% whereas d13C varies between -44 and -17 per mil(V-PDB). The formation contains plentiful evidence of generation and migration of oil (now petrified) as well as oil traps. Results of geophysical surveys combined with drillcore data, including results recently obtained within the framework of the Fennoscandian Arctic Russia - Drilling Early Earth Project (FAR-DEEP), revealed numerous bodies of organosiliceous rocks (OSR) containing mainly silica (c. 57 wt.% SiO2), organic carbon (up to 40 wt.%), Al2O3 (c. 5 wt.%), S (c. 2 wt.%), and minor K, Mg, Fe, Ca and Ti. d13C of the OSR ranges between -40 and -20 per mil. The OSR form crudely stratified beds, cupola-like bodies or veins. The cupola-like bodies show cross-cutting (intrusive) contacts with the host turbiditic greywackes, reach thicknesses of 120 m with a lateral extent of several hundreds of metres. Veins are a few tens of centimetres thick. The OSR show close spatial association with gabbro sills. Although different fabrics have been recognised in the OSR, syngenetic macro- and microbreccias per se are the most common rock types. Fragments of different sedimentary rocks, as well as those with alternating C-rich and C-poor concentric lamina are present. The latter suggests precipitation from hydrothermal fluids. The nature of the OSR remains enigmatic. Several models have been advanced for explanation of origin of the OSR. However, neither of them

  1. Reduced Martian Carbon: Evidence from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K.; McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Clemett, SImon J.; Pillinger, COlin T.; Wright, Ian P.; Verchovsky, A. P.

    2010-01-01

    Identification of indigenous reduced carbon species on Mars has been a challenge since the first hypotheses about life on Mars were proposed. Ranging from the early astronomical measurements to analyses of samples from the Martian surface in the form of Martian meteorites. The first direct attempt to analyze the carbon species on the surface was in 1976 with the Viking GC-MS in-situ experiment which gave inconclusive results at two sites on Mars [1]. With the recognition in 1983 that samples of the Martian surface were already present on Earth in the form of Martian meteorites by Bogard and Johnson [2] new opportunities became available for direct study of Mars's samples in te rlraesbtrioalratories. Carbon isotopic compositional information suggested a reduced carbon component was present in the Martian meteorites [3-5]. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with carbonate globules in ALH84001 were later identified [6,7]. Jull et al [8] noted that an insoluble component was present within Nakhla and more than 75% of its C lacked any 14C, which is modern-day carbon contaminant. This carbon fraction was believed to be either indigenous (i..e. Martian) or ancient meteoritic carbon phase. Within the fractures of Nakhla and ALH84001, Fisk et al [9,10] identified reduced carbon-enriched areas. Gibson et al. [11] using a combination of NanoSIMS, Focused Electron microscopy, Laser Raman Spectroscopy and Stepped-Combustion Static Mass Spectrometry analyses the presence of possible indigenous reduced carbon components within the 1.3 Ga old Nakhla.

  2. Anatomical and developmental study of petrified Quercus (Fagaceae) fruits from the Middle Miocene, Yakima Canyon, Washington, USA.

    PubMed

    Borgardt, S J; Pigg, K B

    1999-03-01

    The first reported petrified acorns to show internal anatomical structure are here described from Middle Miocene (∼15.6 million years old) chert of the Columbia River Basalt Group in Yakima Canyon, Washington. Quercus hiholensis Borgardt et Pigg sp. nov. is described from anatomical and morphological fruit features, as well as a little recognized anatomical feature, the umbilical complex. Acorns, each comprising a nut and its cupule, are up to 15.3 mm long and 18.8 mm wide with helically arranged, imbricate, tuberculate cupule scales. They show basal aborted ovules, short styles, broad stigmas, and lack grooves in their cotyledons. These characters and the developmental pattern seen in these fossil acorns demonstrate that Q. hiholensis conforms to genus Quercus (Fagaceae), subgenus Quercus, section Quercus (the white oaks). The correspondence of Q. hiholensis to the modern section Quercus reveals that the derived floral and fruit characters that distinguish section Quercus within the genus had evolved by the Middle Miocene. PMID:10077494

  3. Investigations of Martian history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, W. K.

    1976-01-01

    Geologic and stratigraphic analyses of Martian channels were accomplished using Mariner frames of high resolution. Crater counts were made to determine which forms had the least relative age. Results indicate that major channel and chaotic systems were relatively young, and that Mars experienced periods of enhanced erosive activity during a period of early dense atmospheric activity with rain. The problem of absolute age determination is discussed and geomorphological studies of selected Local Martian Regions are presented.

  4. A combined polarizing microscope, XRD, SEM, and specific gravity study of the petrified woods of volcanic origin from the Çamlıdere-Çeltikçi-Güdül fossil forest, in Ankara, Turkey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hatipoğlu, Murat; Türk, Necdet

    2009-03-01

    The fossil forest in the Çamlıdere-Çeltikçi-Güdül region of the province of Ankara in Turkey has a large number of petrified coniferous and oak tree remains. Petrification occurred in volcanic ashes and tuffs with permineralization, and Fe, Mg, Ca and Ni ions played important roles in the substitution of Si for C. However, the petrified wood samples are heterogeneous in colouration, weight, toughness, and durability, despite being obtained from the same source. Those features are very important for end-users because petrified woods, if cut and polished, are used widely as both decorative indoor tiles and gemstone objects, but heterogeneous materials suffer large wastage while they are being worked and used. Chemical analyses, specific gravity measurements, polarizing microscope studies, X-ray diffraction patterns, and scanning electron image evaluations were performed to classify and identify the homogenous material of the petrified woods relating to its physical and mineralogical characteristics. The different characteristics of the petrified wood samples are due to their varying inner structures, which depend on the replacement silica-building phases and their ratios, and silica particle sizes. Thin sections and XRD patterns revealed that petrified woods in the region were silicified by replacement with both chalcedonic quartz components, including chalcedony (length-fast quartz), moganite and orthorhombic-silica (length-slow quartz), and opalline quartz components including opal-CT and opal-C (length-slow quartz). The scanning electron microscope images were shown that the internal structures of the petrified woods consist of mostly submicron-sized (100-800 nm), and partially nano-sized (60-120 nm) silica-building particles. So, the petrified wood samples can be firstly classified into five main-groups based on their colourations and specific gravity values, then, into three sub-groups based on the principal chalcedonic and opalline quartz silica

  5. Isotopic age of the Black Forest Bed, Petrified Forest Member, Chinle Formation, Arizona: An example of dating a continental sandstone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Riggs, N.R.; Ash, S.R.; Barth, A.P.; Gehrels, G.E.; Wooden, J.L.

    2003-01-01

    Zircons from the Black Forest Bed, Petrified Forest Member, Chinle Formation, in Petrified Forest National Park, yield ages that range from Late Triassic to Late Archean. Grains were analyzed by multigrain TIMS (thermal-ionization mass spectrometry), single-crystal TIMS, and SHRIMP (sensitive, high-resolution ion-microprobe). Multiple-grain analysis yielded a discordia trajectory with a lower intercept of 207 ?? 2 Ma, which because of the nature of multiple-grain sampling of a detrital bed, is not considered conclusive. Analysis of 29 detrital-zircon grains by TIMS yielded U-PB ages of 2706 ?? 6 Ma to 206 ?? 6 Ma. Eleven of these ages lie between 211 and 216 ?? 6.8 Ma. Our statistical analysis of these grains indicates that the mean of the ages, 213 ?? 1.7 Ma, reflects more analytical error than geologic variability in sources of the grains. Grains with ages of ca. 1400 Ma were derived from the widespread plutons of that age exposed throughout the southwestern Cordillera and central United States. Twelve grains analyzed by SHRIMP provide 206Pb*/238U ages from 214 ?? 2 Ma to 200 ?? 4 Ma. We use these data to infer that cores of inherited material were present in many zircons and that single-crystal analysis provides an accurate estimation of the age of the bed. We further propose that, even if some degree of reworking has occurred, the very strong concentration of ages at ca. 213 Ma provides a maximum age for the Black Forest Bed of 213 ?? 1.7 Ma. The actual age of the bed may be closer to 209 Ma. Dating continental successions is very difficult when distinct ash beds are not clearly identified, as is the case in the Chinle Formation. Detrital zircons in the Black Forest Bed, however, are dominated by an acicular morphology with preserved delicate terminations. The shape of these crystals and their inferred environment of deposition in slow-water settings suggest that the crystals were not far removed from their site of deposition in space and likely not far in time

  6. Revised Lithostratigraphy of the Sonsela Member (Chinle Formation, Upper Triassic) in the Southern Part of Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

    PubMed Central

    Martz, Jeffrey W.; Parker, William G.

    2010-01-01

    Background Recent revisions to the Sonsela Member of the Chinle Formation in Petrified Forest National Park have presented a three-part lithostratigraphic model based on unconventional correlations of sandstone beds. As a vertebrate faunal transition is recorded within this stratigraphic interval, these correlations, and the purported existence of a depositional hiatus (the Tr-4 unconformity) at about the same level, must be carefully re-examined. Methodology/Principal Findings Our investigations demonstrate the neglected necessity of walking out contacts and mapping when constructing lithostratigraphic models, and providing UTM coordinates and labeled photographs for all measured sections. We correct correlation errors within the Sonsela Member, demonstrate that there are multiple Flattops One sandstones, all of which are higher than the traditional Sonsela sandstone bed, that the Sonsela sandstone bed and Rainbow Forest Bed are equivalent, that the Rainbow Forest Bed is higher than the sandstones at the base of Blue Mesa and Agate Mesa, that strata formerly assigned to the Jim Camp Wash beds occur at two stratigraphic levels, and that there are multiple persistent silcrete horizons within the Sonsela Member. Conclusions/Significance We present a revised five-part model for the Sonsela Member. The units from lowest to highest are: the Camp Butte beds, Lot's Wife beds, Jasper Forest bed (the Sonsela sandstone)/Rainbow Forest Bed, Jim Camp Wash beds, and Martha's Butte beds (including the Flattops One sandstones). Although there are numerous degradational/aggradational cycles within the Chinle Formation, a single unconformable horizon within or at the base of the Sonsela Member that can be traced across the entire western United States (the “Tr-4 unconformity”) probably does not exist. The shift from relatively humid and poorly-drained to arid and well-drained climatic conditions began during deposition of the Sonsela Member (low in the Jim Camp Wash beds), well

  7. Martian Environment Electrostatic Precipitator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McDougall, Michael Owen

    2016-01-01

    As part of the planned manned mission to Mars, NASA has noticed that shipping oxygen as a part of life support to keep the astronauts alive continuously is overly expensive, and impractical. As such, noting that the Martian atmosphere is 95.37% CO2, NASA chemists noted that one could obtain oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. The plan, as part of a larger ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) initiative, would extract water from the regolith, or the Martian soil which can be electrolyzed by solar panel produced voltage into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used in the Sabatier reaction with carbon dioxide to produce methane and water producing a net reaction that does not lose water and outputs methane and oxygen for use as rocket fuel and breathing.

  8. Martian Meteorite Ages and Implications for Martian Cratering History

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, Laurence E.

    2006-01-01

    New radiometrically determined ages of Martian meteorites add to the growing number with crystallization ages < 1.4 Ga. The observation of mainly geologically young ages for the Martian meteorites, the only exception being the 4.5 Ga ALH84001 [1], is paradoxical when viewed in context of a Martian surface thought to be mostly much older as inferred from the surface density of meteorite craters [2]. There appears to be at least a twofold difference between the observed ages of Martian meteorites and their expected ages as inferred from the ages of Martian surfaces obtained from crater densities.

  9. Dating of Martian Meteorites: Characterization of Luminescence from a Martian Soil Simulant and Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banerjee, D.; Blair, M.; Sears, D. W. G.; McKeever, S. W. S.

    2002-03-01

    This paper characterizes the thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence signals from polymineral fine-grains of a Martian soil simulant JSC Mars-1, and the bulk fraction of an SNC Martian meteorite ALH 77005,74.

  10. Exploring for Martian Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    During the next decade, robotic field science will play an essential role in advancing our understanding of Martian history. Specifically, capable rovers are needed to survey a broad range of Martian rock types for in situ chemistry and mineralogy as a basis for interpreting globally-distributed data obtained from orbit. The relationship between orbital and landed science will be fundamental in selecting a landing site for future missions aimed at probing the ancient rock record for evidence of: (1) past life or prebiotic chemistry; (2) the climate and volatile history of Mars; and (3) candidate materials for in situ resource utilization.

  11. Martian sedimentary deposits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dehon, Rene

    1992-01-01

    The objectives are characterization of flow through outflow channels, sedimentation associated with Martian outflow systems, and documentation of Martian lakes. Over the period of the grant much, but not all, of the study centered on the Maja Valles outflow. Maja served as an example in which the effects of multiple channel routing and ponding could be studied. Maja Valles also served as the test case for calculating flow through an outflow system. Applying the lessons learned in Maja Valles and comparisons and contrast required a scrutiny of other channels.

  12. Martian Surface Beneath Phoenix

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This is an image of the Martian surface beneath NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. The image was taken by Phoenix's Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) on the eighth Martian day of the mission, or Sol 8 (June 2, 2008). The light feature in the middle of the image below the leg is informally called 'Holy Cow.' The dust, shown in the dark foreground, has been blown off of 'Holy Cow' by Phoenix's thruster engines.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  13. Martian Meteor Ionization Layers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grebowsky, J. M.; Pesnell, W. D.

    1999-01-01

    Small interplanetary grains bombard Mars, like all the solar system planets, and, like all the planets with atmospheres, meteoric ion and atom layers form in the upper atmosphere. We have developed a comprehensive one-dimensional model of the Martian meteoric ionization layer including a full chemical scheme. A persistent layer of magnesium ions should exist around an altitude of 70 km. Unlike the terrestrial case, where the metallic ions are formed via charge-exchange with the ambient ions, Mg(+) in the Martian atmosphere is produced by photoionization. Nevertheless, the predicted metal layer peak densities for Earth and Mars are similar. Diffusion solutions, such as those presented here, should be a good approximation of the metallic ions in regions where the magnetic field is negligible and may provide a significant contribution to the nightside ionosphere. The low ultraviolet absorption of the Martian atmosphere may make Mars an excellent laboratory in which to study meteoric ablation. Resonance lines not seen in the spectra of terrestrial meteors may be visible to a surface observatory in the Martian highlands.

  14. Martian soil component in impact glasses in a Martian meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Borg, L. E.; McKay, D. S.; Wentworth, S. J.

    1999-01-01

    Chemical compositions of impact melt glass veins, called Lithology C (Lith C) in Martian meteorite EET79001 were determined by electron microprobe analysis. A large enrichment of S, and significant enrichments of Al, Ca, and Na were observed in Lith C glass compared to Lithology A (Lith A). The S enrichment is due to mixing of plagioclase- enriched Lith A material with Martian soil, either prior to or during impact on Mars. A mixture of 87% Lith A, 7% plagioclase, and 6% Martian soil reproduces the average elemental abundances observed in Lith C. Shock melting of such a mixture of plagioclase-enriched, fine-grained Lith A host rock and Martian soil could yield large excesses of S (observed in this study) and Martian atmospheric noble gases (found by Bogard et al., 1983) in Lith C. These mixing proportions can be used to constrain the elemental abundance of phosphorus in Martian soil.

  15. Radiometric Ages of Martian Meteorites compared to Martian Surfaces Ages

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C.-Y.

    1999-01-01

    The surprisingly young Rb-Sr age of the Shergotty meteorite contributed to early suggestions that it might be of martian origin. their redox state and oxygen isotopic compositions linked the shergottites to the clino-pyroxenite nakhlites and the dunite Chassigny, causing them to be grouped as SNC meteorites. These characteristics, but especially the similarity of the elemental and isotopic compositions of gases trapped in shergottites to those of the martian atmosphere, have caused the martian origin of the SNC and related meteorites to be widely accepted. Although the young ages were one of the early hints of a martian origin for the SNC meteorites, their interpretation has remained somewhat ambiguous. We will review the radiometric ages of the martian meteorites and attempt to place them into the context of martian surface ages.

  16. A Martian acoustic anemometer.

    PubMed

    Banfield, Don; Schindel, David W; Tarr, Steve; Dissly, Richard W

    2016-08-01

    An acoustic anemometer for use on Mars has been developed. To understand the processes that control the interaction between surface and atmosphere on Mars, not only the mean winds, but also the turbulent boundary layer, the fluxes of momentum, heat and molecular constituents between surface and atmosphere must be measured. Terrestrially this is done with acoustic anemometers, but the low density atmosphere on Mars makes it challenging to adapt such an instrument for use on Mars. This has been achieved using capacitive transducers and pulse compression, and was successfully demonstrated on a stratospheric balloon (simulating the Martian environment) and in a dedicated Mars Wind Tunnel facility. This instrument achieves a measurement accuracy of ∼5 cm/s with an update rate of >20 Hz under Martian conditions. PMID:27586767

  17. Martian polar geological studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cutts, J. A. J.

    1977-01-01

    Multiple arcs of rugged mountains and adjacent plains on the surface of Mars were examined. These features, located in the southern polar region were photographed by Mariner 9. Comparisons are made with characteristics of a lunar basin and mare; Mare imbrium in particular. The martian feature is interpreted to have originated in the same way as its lunar analog- by volcanic flooding of a large impact basin. Key data and methodology leading to this conclusion are cited.

  18. Exploring for Martian Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farmer, Jack D.

    1997-04-01

    During the coming decade, robotic field science will play a fundamental role in advancing our understanding of the history of Mars. In particular, capable rovers are needed to survey a broad array of Martian rock types for in situ mineralogy and chemistry as a basis for interpreting globally-distributed remote sensing data obtained from orbit. The interplay between orbital and landed science will be fundamental in selecting sites for future missions aimed at exploring the ancient rock record for evidence of A) past life or prebiotic chemistry, B) the volatile and climate history of Mars, and C) materials for in situ resource utilization. The recent suggestion of evidence for life in the Martian meteorite, ALH84001 (McKay, D.S., E.K. Gibson, K.L. Thomas-Keprta, H. Vali, C.S. Romanek, S.J. Clemett, X.D.F. Chillier, C.R. Maechling, R.N. Zare. 1996. Search for past life on Mars: Possible relic biogenic activity in Martian meteorite ALH84001. Science) 273, 924-930has placed Exobiology in a more central position in the Mars exploration (The Search for Evidence of Life on Mars. Unpublished report, Mars Expeditions Strategy Group, 1996.)

  19. The martian surface.

    PubMed

    Opik, E J

    1966-07-15

    With the scarcity of factual data and the difficulty of applying crucial tests, many of the properties of the Martian surface remain a mystery; the planet may become a source of great surprises in the future. In the following, the conclusions are enumerated more or less in the order of their reliability, the more certain ones first, conjectures or ambiguous interpretations coming last. Even if they prove to be wrong, they may serve as a stimulus for further investigation. Impact craters on Mars, from collisions with nearby asteroids and other stray bodies, were predicted 16 years ago (5-7) and are now verified by the Mariner IV pictures. The kink in the frequency curve of Martian crater diameters indicates that those larger than 20 kilometers could have survived aeolian erosion since the "beginning." They indicate an erosion rate 30 times slower than that in terrestrial deserts and 70 times faster than micrometeorite erosion on the moon. The observed number, per unit area, of Martian craters larger than 20 kilometers exceeds 4 times that calculated from the statistical theory of interplanetary collisions with the present population of stray bodies and for a time interval of 4500 million years, even when allowance is made for the depletion of the Martian group of asteroids, which were more numerous in the past. This, and the low eroded rims of the Martian craters suggest that many of the craters have survived almost since the formation of the crust. Therefore, Mars could not have possessed a dense atmosphere for any length of time. If there was abundant water for the first 100 million years or so, before it escaped it could have occurred only in the solid state as ice and snow, with but traces of vapor in the atmosphere, on account of the low temperature caused by the high reflectivity of clouds and snow. For Martian life there is thus the dilemma: with water, it is too cold; without, too dry. The crater density on Mars, though twice that in lunar maria, is much

  20. Martian Colors Provide Clues About Martian Water

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of Mars taken in visible and infrared light detail a rich geologic history and provide further evidence for water-bearing minerals on the planet's surface.

    LEFT

    This 'true-color' image of Mars shows the planet as it would look to human eyes. It is clearly more Earth-toned than usually depicted in other astronomical images, including earlier Hubble pictures. The slightly bluer shade along the edges of the disk is due to atmospheric hazes and wispy water ice clouds (like cirrus clouds) in the early morning and late evening Martian sky. The yellowish-pink color of the northern polar cap indicates the presence of small iron-bearing dust particles. These particles are covering or are suspended in the air above the blue-white water ice and carbon dioxide ice, which make up the polar cap.

    Accurate colors are needed to determine the composition and mineralogy of Mars. This can tell how water has influenced the formation of rocks and minerals found on Mars today, as well as the distribution and abundance of ice and subsurface liquid water. Confirmation of the presence of certain oxidized (rusted) minerals (processed by heat or water action) would imply the possibility of different, perhaps much more Earth-like, past Martian climate periods. Because the smallest features visible in this image are only about 14 miles (22 km) across, Hubble can track small-scale variations in the distribution of minerals that do not follow global trends. The image was generated from three separate Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 images acquired at wavelengths of 410, 502, and 673 nanometers, in March 1997.

    RIGHT

    A false-color picture taken in infrared light reveals features that cannot be seen in visible light. Hubble's unique infrared view pinpoints variations in the abundance and distribution of unknown water-bearing minerals on the planet. While it has been known for decades that small amounts of water-bearing minerals exist on the planet

  1. MARTIAN COLORS PROVIDE CLUES ABOUT MARTIAN WATER

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of Mars taken in visible and infrared light detail a rich geologic history and provide further evidence for water-bearing minerals on the planet's surface. LEFT This 'true-color' image of Mars shows the planet as it would look to human eyes. It is clearly more earth-toned than usually depicted in other astronomical images, including earlier Hubble pictures. The slightly bluer shade along the edges of the disk is due to atmospheric hazes and wispy water ice clouds (like cirrus clouds) in the early morning and late evening Martian sky. The yellowish-pink color of the northern polar cap indicates the presence of small iron-bearing dust particles. These particles are covering or are suspended in the air above the blue-white water ice and carbon dioxide ice, which make up the polar cap. Accurate colors are needed to determine the composition and mineralogy of Mars. This can tell how water has influenced the formation of rocks and minerals found on Mars today, as well as the distribution and abundance of ice and subsurface liquid water. Confirmation of the presence of certain oxidized (rusted) minerals (processed by heat or water action) would imply the possibility of different, perhaps much more Earth-like, past Martian climate periods. Because the smallest features visible in this image are only about 14 miles (22 km) across, Hubble can track small-scale variations in the distribution of minerals that do not follow global trends. The image was generated from three separate Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 images acquired at wavelengths of 410, 502, and 673 nanometers, in March 1997. RIGHT A false-color picture taken in infrared light reveals features that cannot be seen in visible light. Hubble's unique infrared view pinpoints variations in the abundance and distribution of unknown water-bearing minerals on the planet. While it has been known for decades that small amounts of water-bearing minerals exist on the planet's surface, the

  2. Chlorine Abundances in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bogard, D.D.; Garrison, D.H.; Park, J.

    2009-01-01

    Chlorine measurements made in martian surface rocks by robotic spacecraft typically give Chlorine (Cl) abundances of approximately 0.1-0.8%. In contrast, Cl abundances in martian meteorites appear lower, although data is limited, and martian nakhlites were also subjected to Cl contamination by Mars surface brines. Chlorine abundances reported by one lab for whole rock (WR) samples of Shergotty, ALH77005, and EET79001 range 108-14 ppm, whereas Cl in nakhlites range 73-1900 ppm. Measurements of Cl in various martian weathering phases of nakhlites varied 0.04-4.7% and reveal significant concentration of Cl by martian brines Martian meteorites contain much lower Chlorine than those measured in martian surface rocks and give further confirmation that Cl in these surface rocks was introduced by brines and weathering. It has been argued that Cl is twice as effective as water in lowering the melting point and promoting melting at shallower martian depths, and that significant Cl in the shergottite source region would negate any need for significant water. However, this conclusion was based on experiments that utilized Cl concentrations more analogous to martian surface rocks than to shergottite meteorites, and may not be applicable to shergottites.

  3. Guadua zuloagae sp. nov., the First Petrified Bamboo Culm Record from the Ituzaingó Formation (Pliocene), Paraná Basin, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Brea, Mariana; Zucol, Alejandro F.

    2007-01-01

    Background and Aims The anatomical characterization and morphology of Guadua zuloagae nov. sp. (Poaceae–Bambusoideae) culm was determined. This material was collected at the Toma Vieja fossil locality, Paraná basin, Argentina. This fossil culm is the first record of Bambusoideae in sediments of the Pliocene from the Ituzaingó Formation. The studied specimen was compared with the taxa of the Bambusoideae sub-family, especially with the American woody bamboos and others taxa that have woody culms, including Arundo, Thysalonaena and Gynerium. Methods The material was preserved by siliceous cellular permineralization, and it was prepared for microscopic examination by surface polishing and thin sections. The morphology and anatomy of this new species were described. The estimated height, critical buckling height and safety factor were calculated on the basis of the fossil bamboo diameter using the formula of Niklas. The relationship and comparison with the nearest living relatives (NLRs) are discussed. Key Results Well-preserved petrified culm with internodes and nodes from the Pliocene of Argentina provides the basis for the description of a new fossil bamboo, Guadua zuloagae. The results of the anatomical analysis of the fossil bamboo showed a great affinity with the extant species Guadua angustifolia and constitute the first evidence of petrified bamboo culm. Conclusions The new fossil bamboo culm constitutes the only fossil record, preserved as permineralized by silicification, in the world. This fossil record indicates that the genus Guadua was more widespread in the past than today. Discovery of G. zuloagae allows the presence of a Bambusoideae understorey in the mixed forests described for the Ituzaingó Formation to be inferred. The climatic conditions inferred from fossil bamboo and sedimentary deposits indicate a temperate-warm, humid climate. PMID:17728337

  4. Exploring for Martian Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1997-01-01

    Terrestrial life appears to have arisen very quickly during late accretion, sometime between approximately 3.5 and 4.2 Ga. During this same time, liquid water appears to have been abundant at the surface of Mars and it is quite plausable that life originated there as well. We now believe that the last common ancestor of terrestrial life was a sulfur-metabolizing microbe that lived at high temperatures. Rooting of the RNA tree in thermophily probably reflects high temperature "bottle-necking" of the biosphere by giant impacts during late accretion, sometime after life had originated. If high temperature bottle-necking is a general property of early biosphere development, Martian life may have also developed in close association with hydrothermal systems. Several independent lines of evidence suggest that hydrothermal processes have played an important role during the geological history of Mars. Because hydrothermal deposits on Earth are known to capture and retain abundant microbial fossil information, they are considered prime targets in the search for an ancient Martian biosphere. An important step in planning for future landed missions to Mars is the selection of priority targets for high resolution orbital mapping. Geotectonic terranes on Mars that provide a present focus for ongoing site selection studies include channels located along the margins of impact crater melt sheets, or on the slopes of ancient Martian volcanoes, chaotic and fretted terranes where shallow subsurface heat sources are thought to have interacted with ground ice, and the floors of calderas and rifted basins. Orbital missions in 1996, 1998 and 2001 will provide opportunities for high resolution geological mapping at key sites in such terranes, as a basis for selecting targets for future landed missions for exopaleontology.

  5. Web life: Be A Martian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2011-09-01

    this month's Weblife concentrates on the Be A Martian portal - a rich but manageably sized corner of the NASA site that allows both "Martian citizens" (registered users, in other words) and "anonymous tourists" to explore data and images collected by Mars-bound spacecraft.

  6. Spectra of Martian Andesitic Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Minitti, M. E.; Rutherford, M. J.; Weitz, C. M.

    2001-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions both detected andesitic compositions on the martian surface. We have investigated the spectral properties of unoxidized and oxidized martian andesitic samples crystallized with and without water. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  7. The Martian Oasis Detector

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, P. H.; tomasko, M. G.; McEwen, A.; Rice, J.

    2000-07-01

    The next phase of unmanned Mars missions paves the way for astronauts to land on the surface of Mars. There are lessons to be learned from the unmanned precursor missions to the Moon and the Apollo lunar surface expeditions. These unmanned missions (Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, and Surveyor) provided the following valuable information, useful from both a scientific and engineering perspective, which was required to prepare the way for the manned exploration of the lunar surface: (1) high resolution imagery instrumental to Apollo landing site selection also tremendously advanced the state of Nearside and Farside regional geology; (2) demonstrated precision landing (less than two kilometers from target) and soft landing capability; (3) established that the surface had sufficient bearing strength to support a spacecraft; and (4) examination of the chemical composition and mechanical properties of the surface. The search for extinct or extant life on Mars will follow the water. However, geomorphic studies have shown that Mars has had liquid water on its surface throughout its geologic history. A cornucopia of potential landing sites with water histories (lakes, floodplains, oceans, deltas, hydrothermal regions) presently exist. How will we narrow down site selection and increase the likelihood of finding the signs of life? One way to do this is to identify 'Martian oases.' It is known that the Martian surface is often highly fractured and some areas have karst structures that support underground caves. Much of the water that formed the channels and valley networks is thought to be frozen underground. All that is needed to create the potential for liquid water is a near surface source of heat; recent lava flows and Martian meteorites attest to the potential for volcanic activity. If we can locate even one spot where fracturing, ice, and underground heat are co-located then we have the potential for an oasis. Such a discovery could truly excite the imaginations of both the

  8. Planimetric Martian triangulations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arthur, D.W.G.; McMacken, D.K.

    1977-01-01

    Narrow-angle photographs, which have severe drawbacks for stereophotogrammetry, have advantages for simple plane triangulations. Rectified narrow-angle pictures corrected for map projection effects can be combined in the map plane in relatively accurate planimetric triangulations. Provided the strict precepts of least squares are not followed, these triangulations can incorporate considerable overdetermination without increase in the labor of solving the equations. These plane triangulations have been used successfully in the cartography of Mars and are illustrated here by a triangulation of the environs of the prime Martian landing site.

  9. Polygons in Martian Frost

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-428, 21 July 2003

    This June 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a polygonal pattern developed in seasonal carbon dioxide frost in the martian southern hemisphere. The frost accumulated during the recent southern winter; it is now spring, and the carbon dioxide frost is subliming away. This image is located near 80.4oS, 200.2oW; it is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left, and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across.

  10. The New Martians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kanas, Nick

    In The New Martians,the crewmembers undergo a great deal of psychological and interpersonal stress during their return home, in part prompted by the actions of a mysterious presence on board. Of course, no one knows for sure if such a presence will actually materialize during a real Mars expedition! But psychosocial issues will nevertheless affect a Mars crew due to the isolation, confinement, and long separation from family and friends that will characterize such a mission. In what follows, many of these issues will be reviewed, followed in each section by illustrations from the novel.

  11. Sampling Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Scientists were using the Moessbauer spectrometer on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit when something unexpected happened. The instrument's contact ring had been placed onto the ground as a reference point for placement of another instrument, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, for analyzing the soil. After Spirit removed the Moessbauer from the target, the rover's microscopic imager revealed a gap in the imprint left behind in the soil. The gap, about a centimeter wide (less than half an inch), is visible on the left side of this mosaic of images. Scientists concluded that a small chunk of soil probably adhered to the contact ring on the front surface of the Moessbauer. Before anyone saw that soil may have adhered to the Moessbauer, that instrument was placed to analyze martian dust collected by a magnet on the rover. The team plans to take images to see if any soil is still attached to the Moessbauer. Spirit took these images on the rover's 240th martian day, or sol (Sept. 4, 2004).

  12. Rocky Martian Plain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1976-01-01

    The rocky Martian plain surrounding Viking 2 is seen in high resolution in this 85-degree panorama sweeping from north at the left to east at right during the Martian afternoon on September 5. Large blocks litter the surface. Some are porous, sponge-like rocks like the one at the left edge (size estimate: 1 1/2 to 2 feet); others are dense and fine-grained, such as the very bright rounded block (1 to 1 1/2 feet across) toward lower right. Pebbled surface between the rocks is covered in places by small drifts of very fine material similar to drifts seen at the Viking 1 landing site some 4600 miles to the southwest. The fine-grained material is banked up behind some rocks, but wind tails seen by Viking 1 are not well-developed here. On the right horizon, flat-topped ridges or hills are illuminated by the afternoon sun. Slope of the horizon is due to the 8-degree tilt of the spacecraft.

  13. Martian soil color variations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Rocks and soils on the surface are thought to be composed of minerals similar to those found on Earth's surface. One of the most important tools for recognizing these minerals is the spectrum of sunlight reflected by them. At the visible and near-infrared light wavelengths measured by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), the most important coloring materials in the Martian surface are iron minerals. There are two broad classes of iron minerals. Minerals which occur in igneous rocks (such as pyroxene) have a relatively flat spectrum and they reflect only a small amount of light; they are said to have a low reflectance. Ferric iron minerals, which occur as weathering products, reflect longer-wavelength light and absorb short-wavelength light, hence their very red color. The relative brightnesses of Martian surface materials in IMP's different wavelength filter is a powerful tool for recognizing the iron minerals present.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  14. Ancient oceans and Martian paleohydrology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, Victor R.; Strom, Robert G.; Gulick, Virginia C.; Kargel, Jeffrey S.; Komatsu, Goro; Kale, Vishwas S.

    1991-01-01

    The global model of ocean formation on Mars is discussed. The studies of impact crater densities on certain Martian landforms show that late in Martian history there could have been coincident formation of: (1) glacial features in the Southern Hemisphere; (2) ponded water and related ice features in the northern plains; (3) fluvial runoff on Martian uplands; and (4) active ice-related mass-movement. This model of transient ocean formation ties these diverse observations together in a long-term cyclic scheme of global planetary operation.

  15. Isotopic Evidence for a Martian Regolith Component in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Bogard, D. D.; Garrison, D. H.; Sutton, S.

    2009-01-01

    Noble gas measurements in gas-rich impact-melt (GRIM) glasses in EET79001 shergottite showed that their elemental and isotopic composition is similar to that of the Martian atmosphere [1-3]. The GRIM glasses contain large amounts of Martian atmospheric gases. Those measurements further suggested that the Kr isotopic composition of Martian atmosphere is approximately similar to that of solar Kr. The (80)Kr(sub n) - (80)Kr(sub M) mixing ratio in the Martian atmosphere reported here is approximately 3%. These neutron-capture reactions presumably occurred in the glass-precursor regolith materials containing Sm- and Br- bearing mineral phases near the EET79001/ Shergotty sites on Mars. The irradiated materials were mobilized into host rock voids either during shock-melting or possibly by earlier aeolian / fluvial activity.

  16. Trajectories of Martian Habitability

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Beginning from two plausible starting points—an uninhabited or inhabited Mars—this paper discusses the possible trajectories of martian habitability over time. On an uninhabited Mars, the trajectories follow paths determined by the abundance of uninhabitable environments and uninhabited habitats. On an inhabited Mars, the addition of a third environment type, inhabited habitats, results in other trajectories, including ones where the planet remains inhabited today or others where planetary-scale life extinction occurs. By identifying different trajectories of habitability, corresponding hypotheses can be described that allow for the various trajectories to be disentangled and ultimately a determination of which trajectory Mars has taken and the changing relative abundance of its constituent environments. Key Words: Mars—Habitability—Liquid water—Planetary science. Astrobiology 14, 182–203. PMID:24506485

  17. Martian atmospheric radiation budget

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindner, Bernhard Lee

    1994-01-01

    A computer model is used to study the radiative transfer of the martian winter-polar atmosphere. Solar heating at winter-polar latitudes is provided predominately by dust. For normal, low-dust conditions, CO2 provides almost as much heating as dust. Most heating by CO2 in the winter polar atmosphere is provided by the 2.7 micron band between 10 km and 30 km altitude, and by the 2.0 micron band below 10 km. The weak 1.3 micron band provides some significant heating near the surface. The minor CO2 bands at 1.4, 1.6, 4.8 and 5.2 micron are all optically thin, and produce negligible heating. O3 provides less than 10 percent of the total heating. Atmospheric cooling is predominantly thermal emission by dust, although CO2 15 micron band emission is important above 20 km altitude.

  18. Martian surface weathering studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calvin, M.

    1973-01-01

    The nature of the Martian surface was characterized by means of its reflectance properties. The Mariner 9 photography was used to establish terrain units which were crossed by the Mariner 6 and 7 paths. The IR reflectance measured by the IR spectrometers on these spacecraft was to be used to indicate the nature of the surface within these units. There is an indication of physical size and/or compositional variation between units but too many natural parameters can vary (size, shape, composition, adsorbed phases, reradiation, atmospheric absorbtion, temperature gradients, etc.) to be certain what effect is causing those variations observed. It is suggested that the characterization could be fruitfully pursued by a group which was dedicated to peeling back the layers of minutia affecting IR reflectance.

  19. Prospecting for Martian Ice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McBride, S. A.; Allen, C. C.; Bell, M. S.

    2005-01-01

    During high Martian obliquity, ice is stable to lower latitudes than predicted by models of present conditions and observed by the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (approx. 60 deg N). An ice-rich layer deposited at mid-latitudes could persist to the present day; ablation of the top 1 m of ice leaving a thin insulating cover could account for lack of its detection by GRS. The presence of an ice-layer in the mid-latitudes is suggested by a network of polygons, interpreted as ice-wedge cracks. This study focuses on an exceptional concentration of polygons in Western Utopia (section of Casius quadrangle, roughly 40 deg - 50 deg N, 255 deg - 300 deg W). We attempt to determine the thickness and age of this ice layer through crater-polygons relations.

  20. Martian City Map

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    30 May 2004 Seasonal frost can enhance the view from orbit of polar polygonal patterns on the surface of Mars. Sometimes these patterns look something like a city map, or the view from above a city lit-up at night. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an example from the south polar region near 80.7oS, 70.6oW. Polar polygons on Mars are generally believed, though not proven, to be the result of freeze/thaw cycles of ice occurring within the upper few meters (several yards) of the martian subsurface. The image shown here covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across; sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.

  1. Martian Meteorological Lander

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vorontsov, V.; Pichkhadze, K.; Polyakov, A.

    2002-01-01

    Martian meteorological lander (MML) is dedicated for landing onto the Mars surface with the purpose to carry on the monitoring of Mars atmosphere condition at a landing point during one Martian year. MML is supposed to become the basic element of a global net of meteorological mini stations and will permit to observe the dynamics of Martian atmosphere parameters changes during a long time duration. The main scientific tasks of MML are as follows: -study of vertical structure of Mars atmosphere during MML descending; -meteorological observations on Mars surface during one Martian year. One of the essential factor influencing to the lander design is descent trajectory design. During the preliminary phase of development five (5) options of MML were considered. In our opinion, these variants provide the accomplishment of the above-mentioned tasks with a high effectiveness. Joined into the first group, variants with parachute system and with Inflatable Air Brakes+Inflatable Airbag are similar in arranging of pre-landing braking stage and completely analogous in landing by means of airbags. The usage of additional Inflatable Braking Unit (IBU) in the second variant does not affect the procedure of braking - decreasing of velocity by the moment of touching the surface due to decreasing of ballistic parameter Px. A distinctive feature of MML development variants of other three concepts is the presence of Inflatable Braking Unit (IBU) in their configurations (IBU is rigidly joined with landing module up to the moment of its touching the surface). Besides, in variant with the tore-shaped IBU it acts as a shock- absorbing unit. In two options, Inflatable Braking Shock-Absorbing Unit (IBSAU) (or IBU) releases the surface module after its landing at the moment of IBSAU (or IBU) elastic recoil. Variants of this concept are equal in terms of mass (approximately 15 kg). For variants of concepts with IBU the landing velocity is up to50-70 m/s. Stations of last three options are

  2. Trajectories of martian habitability.

    PubMed

    Cockell, Charles S

    2014-02-01

    Beginning from two plausible starting points-an uninhabited or inhabited Mars-this paper discusses the possible trajectories of martian habitability over time. On an uninhabited Mars, the trajectories follow paths determined by the abundance of uninhabitable environments and uninhabited habitats. On an inhabited Mars, the addition of a third environment type, inhabited habitats, results in other trajectories, including ones where the planet remains inhabited today or others where planetary-scale life extinction occurs. By identifying different trajectories of habitability, corresponding hypotheses can be described that allow for the various trajectories to be disentangled and ultimately a determination of which trajectory Mars has taken and the changing relative abundance of its constituent environments. PMID:24506485

  3. Relative chronology of Martian volcanoes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landheim, R.; Barlow, N. G.

    1991-01-01

    Impact cratering is one of the major geological processes that has affected the Martian surface throughout the planet's history. The frequency of craters within particular size ranges provides information about the formation ages and obliterative episodes of Martian geologic units. The Barlow chronology was extended by measuring small craters on the volcanoes and a number of standard terrain units. Inclusions of smaller craters in units previously analyzed by Barlow allowed for a more direct comparison between the size-frequency distribution data for volcanoes and established chronology. During this study, 11,486 craters were mapped and identified in the 1.5 to 8 km diameter range in selected regions of Mars. The results are summarized in this three page report and give a more precise estimate of the relative chronology of the Martian volcanoes. Also, the results of this study lend further support to the increasing evidence that volcanism has been a dominant geologic force throughout Martian history.

  4. No `nanofossils' in martian meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, J. P.; Harvey, R. P.; McSween, H. Y.; Gibson, Everett; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie; Vali, H.

    1997-12-01

    Elongated, segmented forms found on fracture surfaces within the martian meteorite ALH84001 have been proposed to be martian `nanofossils', even though they appear too small to be fossilized bacteria. We have examined similar forms and find that the majority are (non-biological) lamellar growth steps on pyroxene and carbonate crystals. Their segmented surface microstructures are laboratory artefacts resulting from the deposition of conductive heavy-metal coatings.

  5. Depositional history of the Late Triassic Chinle fluvial system at the Petrified Forest National Park: U-Pb geochronology, regional correlation and insights into early dinosaur evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramezani, J.; Fastovsky, D. E.; Bowring, S. A.; Hoke, G. D.

    2010-12-01

    Understanding patterns of biotic evolution and climate change in deep time requires a reliable temporal framework. The Colorado Plateau contains a rich record of both, but is lacking in reliable age data. High-precision U-Pb geochronology has the power to resolve subtle differences among mixed populations of volcanic zircon contained in tuffaceous sedimentary rocks. We report maximum depositional ages for interbedded tuffaceous rocks collected within a highly refined stratigraphic context from the Late Triassic Chinle Formation as exposed in the Petrified Forest National Park, AZ, USA. The results provide unprecedented insights into the depositional history of the Chinle fluvial system, as well as key data on the biostratigraphy of Late Triassic land vertebrate faunas. Our geochronological results indicate that the Blue Mesa, Sonsela and Petrified Forest Members of Chinle Formation, with a cumulative thickness of ca. 293 meters, were deposited during a period in excess of 17 m.y. that spans nearly the entire Norian stage of the Late Triassic. The underlying Mesa Redondo Member may extend into Carnian and the overlying Owl Rock Member into Rhaetian. Different stratigraphic intervals within the section are characterized by drastically different average sediment accumulation rates; the highest rates are found in the Sonsela Member and most likely reflect missing time due to erosion associated with extensive channeling preserved in this unit. The new Chinle geochronology demonstrates that the common practice of basin-wide correlation of fluvial strata based on lithostratigraphic criteria is prone to serious errors. A mid-Norian age for the Adamanian to Revueltian land vertebrate faunachron boundary, as suggested by the revised Late Triassic timescale, is no longer compatible with the idea that the faunachron boundary is coincident with the Carnian-Norian Stage boundary. Our new temporal constraints for the Chinle along with limited available age data from the South

  6. Geologic mapping as a method for the construction of a detailed and testable lithostratigraphic model for the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skinner, L. A.; Martz, J. W.; Parker, W.; Raucci, J.; Umhoefer, P. J.

    2010-12-01

    The Upper Triassic Chinle Formation in Petrified Forest National Park represents some of the most intensively studied Upper Triassic strata in western North America. Five stratigraphic members are exposed within the park, from oldest to youngest: the Mesa Redondo, Blue Mesa, Sonsela, Petrified Forest, and Owl Rock Members. Despite numerous stratigraphic studies of the Chinle Formation and two attempts at mapping the park over the past sixty years, sandstone marker beds in the Sonsela Member at the north and south ends of the park were still poorly mapped and correlated. Studies in the years 2002 and 2006 claimed that two sandstones which previous workers had considered to lie at different stratigraphic levels (the Jasper Forest Bed and the Flattops One sandstones in the Martha’s Butte beds) were actually correlative. This correlation resulted in a three-part division of the Sonsela Member and had a major impact on vertebrate biostratigraphy. In a recent attempt to resolve confusions regarding Chinle Formation lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy, we have completely walked out lithologic contacts through most of the park. The resulting new geologic map, revised lithostratigraphic model, and associated data resolves the 2002 and 2006 miscorrelations by demonstrating that the Jasper Forest Bed capping Blue Mesa and Agate Mesa and Flattops One sandstones (Martha’s Butte beds) are stratigraphically distinct, resulting in a thicker and more complex five-part model for the Sonsela Member, and considerably modifying the vertebrate biostratigraphy. New geologic mapping also resulted in a detailed lithostratigraphic framework for the northern park which has previously been poorly understood, and several important new marker beds, including a purple-gray bed that represents the base of the Owl Rock Member. The revised geologic map is an ArcGIS product that includes an updated lithostratigraphic model for the Chinle Formation, fossil localities, and hyperlinks to labeled

  7. Martian 'Kitchen Sponge'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This picture is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. It shows a tiny 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer (0.62 x 0.62 mile) area of the martian north polar residual ice cap as it appears in summertime.

    The surface looks somewhat like that of a kitchen sponge--it is flat on top and has many closely-spaced pits of no more than 2 meters (5.5 ft) depth. The upper, flat surface in this image has a medium-gray tone, while the pit interiors are darker gray. Each pit is generally 10 to 20 meters (33-66 feet) across. The pits probably form as water ice sublimes--going directly from solid to vapor--during the martian northern summer seasons. The pits probably develop over thousands of years. This texture is very different from what is seen in the south polar cap, where considerably larger and more circular depressions are found to resemble slices of swiss cheese rather than a kitchen sponge.

    This picture was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) during northern summer on March 8, 1999. It was one of the very last 'calibration' images taken before the start of the Mapping Phase of the MGS mission, and its goal was to determine whether the MOC was properly focused. The crisp appearance of the edges of the pits confirmed that the instrument was focused and ready for its 1-Mars Year mapping mission. The scene is located near 86.9oN, 207.5oW, and has a resolution of about 1.4 meters (4 ft, 7 in) per pixel.

    Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, CA and Denver, CO.

  8. Martian Dune Field

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1976-01-01

    This spectacular picture of the Martian landscape by the Viking 1 Lander shows a dune field with features remarkably similar to many seen in the deserts of Earth. The dramatic early morning lighting - 7:30 a.m. local Mars time--reveals subtle details and shading. Taken yesterday (August 3) by the Lander s camera #1, the picture covers 100 , looking northeast at left and southeast at right. Viking scientists have studied areas very much like the one in this view in Mexico and in California (Kelso, Death Valley, Yuma). The sharp dune crests indicate the most recent wind storms capable of moving sand over the dunes in the general direction from upper left to lower right. Small deposits downwind of rocks also indicate this wind direction. Large boulder at left is about eight meters (25 feet) from the spacecraft and measures about one by three meters (3 by 10 feet). The meteorology boom, which supports Viking s miniature weather station, cuts through the picture s center. The sun rose two hours earlier and is about 30 above the horizon near the center of the picture.

  9. A Violet Martian Sky

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    These clouds from Sol 15 have a new look. As water ice clouds cover the sky, the sky takes on a more bluish cast. This is because small particles (perhaps a tenth the size of the martian dust, or one-thousandth the thickness of a human hair) are bright in blue light, but almost invisible in red light. Thus, scientists expect that the ice particles in the clouds are very small. The clouds were imaged by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP).

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator.

  10. Melting in Martian Snowbanks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Sutter, B.

    2005-01-01

    Precipitation as snow is an emerging paradigm for understanding water flow on Mars, which gracefully resolves many outstanding uncertainties in climatic and geomorphic interpretation. Snowfall does not require a powerful global greenhouse to effect global precipitation. It has long been assumed that global average temperatures greater than 273K are required to sustain liquid water at the surface via rainfall and runoff. Unfortunately, the best greenhouse models to date predict global mean surface temperatures early in Mars' history that differ little from today's, unless exceptional conditions are invoked. Snowfall however, can occur at temperatures less than 273K; all that is required is saturation of the atmosphere. At global temperatures lower than 273K, H2O would have been injected into the atmosphere by impacts and volcanic eruptions during the Noachian, and by obliquity-driven climate oscillations more recently. Snow cover can accumulate for a considerable period, and be available for melting during local spring and summer, unless sublimation rates are sufficient to remove the entire snowpack. We decided to explore the physics that controls the melting of snow in the high-latitude regions of Mars to understand the frequency and drainage of snowmelt in the high martian latitudes.

  11. Universal multifractal Martian topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landais, F.; Schmidt, F.; Lovejoy, S.

    2015-11-01

    In the present study, we investigate the scaling properties of the topography of Mars. Planetary topographic fields are well known to roughly exhibit (mono)fractal behavior. Indeed, the fractal formalism reproduces much of the variability observed in topography. Still, a single fractal dimension is not enough to explain the huge variability and intermittency. Previous studies have claimed that fractal dimensions might be different from one region to another, excluding a general description at the planetary scale. In this article, we analyze the Martian topographic data with a multifractal formalism to study the scaling intermittency. In the multifractal paradigm, the apparent local variation of the fractal dimension is interpreted as a statistical property of multifractal fields. We analyze the topography measured with the Mars Orbiter Laser altimeter (MOLA) at 300 m horizontal resolution, 1 m vertical resolution. We adapted the Haar fluctuation method to the irregularly sampled signal. The results suggest a multifractal behavior from the planetary scale down to 10 km. From 10 to 300 m, the topography seems to be simple monofractal. This transition indicates a significant change in the geological processes governing the Red Planet's surface.

  12. Universal multifractal Martian topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landais, F.; Schmidt, F.; Lovejoy, S.

    2015-07-01

    In the present study, we investigate the scaling properties of the topography of Mars. Planetary topographic fields are well known to roughly exhibit (mono)fractal behavior. Indeed, the fractal formalism is reproduces much of the variability observed in topography. Still, a single fractal dimension is not enough to explain the huge variability and intermittency. Previous studies have claimed that fractal dimensions might be different from one region to an other, excluding a general description at the planetary scale. In this article, we are analyzing the Martian topographic data with a multifractal formalism to study the scaling intermittency. In the multifractal paradigm, the apparent local variation of the fractal dimension is interpreted as a statistical property of multifractal fields. We analyze the topography measured with the laser altimeter MOLA at 300 m horizontal resolution, 1 m vertical resolution. We adapted the Haar fluctuation method to the the irregularly sampled signal. The results suggest a multifractal behavior from planetary scale down to 10 km. From 10 km to 300 m, the topography seems to be simple monofractal. This transition indicates a significant change in the geological processes governing the Red Planet's surface.

  13. Salty Martian Rock

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    These plots, or spectra, show that a rock dubbed 'McKittrick' near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site at Meridiani Planum, Mars, has higher concentrations of sulfur and bromine than a nearby patch of soil nicknamed 'Tarmac.' These data were taken by Opportunity's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, which produces a spectrum, or fingerprint, of chemicals in martian rocks and soil. The instrument contains a radioisotope, curium-244, that bombards a designated area with alpha particles and X-rays, causing a cascade of reflective fluorescent X-rays. The energies of these fluorescent X-rays are unique to each atom in the periodic table, allowing scientists to determine a target's chemical composition.

    Both 'Tarmac' and 'McKittrick' are located within the small crater where Opportunity landed. The full spectra are expressed as X-ray intensity (logarithmic scale) versus energy. When comparing two spectra, the relative intensities at a given energy are proportional to the elemental concentrations, however these proportionality factors can be complex. To be precise, scientists extensively calibrate the instrument using well-analyzed geochemical standards.

    Both the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the rock abrasion tool are located on the rover's instrument deployment device, or arm.

  14. Martian Igneous Geochemistry: The Nature of the Martian Mantle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.; Peng, Z. X.; Herrin, J. S.

    2012-01-01

    Mafic igneous rocks probe the interiors of their parent objects, reflecting the compositions and mineralogies of their source regions, and the magmatic processes that engendered them. Incompatible trace element contents of mafic igneous rocks are widely used to constrain the petrologic evolution of planets. We focus on incompatible element ratios of martian meteorites to constrain the petrologic evolution of Mars in the context of magma ocean/cumulate overturn models [1]. Most martian meteorites contain some cumulus grains, but regardless, their incompatible element ratios are close to those of their parent magmas. Martian meteorites form two main petrologic/ age groupings; a 1.3 Ga group composed of clinopyroxenites (nakhlites) and dunites (chassignites), and a <1 Ga group composed of basalts and lherzolites (shergottites).

  15. Martian Dunes in Infrared

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This collage of six images taken by the camera system on NASA's Mars Odyssey, shows examples of the daytime temperature patterns of martian dunes seen by the infrared camera. The dunes can be seen in this daytime image because of the temperature differences between the sunlit (warm and bright) and shadowed (cold and dark) slopes of the dunes. The temperatures in each image vary, but typically range from approximately -35 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees Fahrenheit) to -15degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). Each image covers an area approximately 32 by 32 kilometers (20 by 20 miles) and was acquired using the infrared Band 9, centered at 12.6 micrometers. Clockwise from the upper left, these images are: (a) Russel crater, 54 degrees south latitude, 13 degrees east longitude; (b) Kaiser crater. 45degrees south latitude, 19 degrees east longitude; (c) Rabe crater, 43south latitude, 35 east longitude; (d) 22 north latitude, 66 degrees east longitude; (e) Proctor crater. 47 degrees south latitude, 30 degrees east longitude; (f) 61 degrees south latitude, 201 degrees east longitude.

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C. Investigators at Arizona State University in Tempe, the University of Arizona in Tucson and NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, operate the science instruments. Additional science partners are located at the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and at Los Alamos National Laboratories, New Mexico. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL.

  16. Martian 'Swiss Cheese'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This image is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.

    Looking like pieces of sliced and broken swiss cheese, the upper layer of the martian south polar residual cap has been eroded, leaving flat-topped mesas into which are set circular depressions such as those shown here. The circular features are depressions, not hills. The largest mesas here stand about 4 meters (13 feet) high and may be composed of frozen carbon dioxide and/or water. Nothing like this has ever been seen anywhere on Mars except within the south polar cap, leading to some speculation that these landforms may have something to do with the carbon dioxide thought to be frozen in the south polar region. On Earth, we know frozen carbon dioxide as 'dry ice'. On Mars, as this picture might be suggesting, there may be entire landforms larger than a small town and taller than 2 to 3 men and women that consist, in part, of dry ice.

    No one knows for certain whether frozen carbon dioxide has played a role in the creation of the 'swiss cheese' and other bizarre landforms seen in this picture. The picture covers an area 3 x 9 kilometers (1.9 x 5.6 miles) near 85.6oS, 74.4oW at a resolution of 7.3 meters (24 feet) per pixel. This picture was taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) during early southern spring on August 3, 1999.

    Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, CA. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, CA and Denver, CO.

  17. The Enigmatic Martian Polar Caps

    SciTech Connect

    James, Philip

    2005-08-17

    The Martian polar caps have puzzled astronomers for over a century. Extensive study by many instruments on various spacecraft has resolved many questions but has at the same time created a new generation of puzzles. The polar caps are intimately coupled to the current Martian climate and volatile cycles. They also hold clues to climate variations on a variety of longer time scales. The results of recent missions will be reviewed, and the potential outlook for resolution of the outstanding questions will be examined.

  18. Composition of the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ott, U.

    1991-04-01

    Data on the composition of the Martian atmosphere obtained by instruments aboard the Viking spacecraft are not of sufficient accuracy to address important questions regarding the compsition and history of Mars. Laboratory analyses of gases trapped in glassy phases of shergottite meteorite EETA 79001 yield precise data, but it remains to be ascertained that these gases constitute unfractionated Martian atmosphere. Return from Mars of a gas sample for laboratory analysis appears preferable to another in situ measurement, especially if rocks of documented origin will become available for gas analysis as well.

  19. Acoustics in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, J.-P.

    2000-10-01

    With the advent of the first attempt to deliver an acoustic microphone to the Martian surface aboard the failed Mars Polar Lander, there has been growing interests in the development of acoustic sensors to compliment scientific payloads on future spacecraft. Terrestrial scientist have been very successful in using infrasound (sound at frequencies below human detection, < 20 Hz) to detect and monitor atmospheric phenomena related to weather, tornadoes, mountain waves, microbaroms, ionospheric and auroral disturbances, and meteror/fireballs, as well as anthropogenic sources such as aircraft and nuclear explosions. Sounds on Mars at the audible frequencies (20 Hz to 20 kHz) will be severely attenuated due to viscous relaxation and thermal diffusion (collectively referred to as classical attenuation) which will be much more severe in the colder, less dense Martian atmosphere. Molecular relaxation of carbon dioxide will also contribute to the sound absorption in the lower audible frequencies. Since classical attenuation increases as a function of the frequency squared, at low infrasonic frequencies ( < 10 Hz), classical attenuation becomes less significant and sound absorption in the Martian atmosphere becomes more similar to that of the terrestrial atmosphere for the same frequencies. At these longer wavelengths, geometric spreading will dominate as the source of attenuation as the acoustic energy is spread out over an ever increasing spherical wave front. This implies that infrasound (10 to 0.01 Hz) will be a useful frequency range for future acoustic sensors developed for scientific payloads delivered to the Martian surface.

  20. Spirit Begins Third Martian Year

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    As it finished its second Martian year on Mars, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was beginning to examine a group of angular rocks given informal names corresponding to peaks in the Colorado Rockies. A Martian year the amount of time it takes Mars to complete one orbit around the sun lasts for 687 Earth days. Spirit completed its second Martian year on the rover's 1,338th Martian day, or sol, corresponding to Oct. 8, 2007.

    Two days later, on sol 1,340 (Oct. 10, 2007), Spirit used its front hazard-identification camera to capture this wide-angle view of its robotic arm extended to a rock informally named 'Humboldt Peak.' For the rocks at this site on the southern edge of the 'Home Plate' platform in the inner basin of the Columbia Hills inside Gusev Crater, the rover team decided to use names of Colorado peaks higher than 14,000 feet. The Colorado Rockies team of the National League is the connection to the baseball-theme nomenclature being used for features around Home Plate.

    The tool facing Spirit on the turret at the end of the robotic arm is the Moessbauer spectrometer.

  1. Tales of A Martian Schoolmarm.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ascenzi, Laurie

    2000-01-01

    A former substitute teacher explains how she won first-graders' attention and significantly improved deportment by pretending to be a Martian with different communication modes and hearing capabilities than terrestrials. Children painlessly learn tips on listening, communicating, and engaging in friendly behaviors. (MLH)

  2. Water in the Martian regolith

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, Duwayne M.

    1988-01-01

    The state of water in the Martian regolith is addressed. The water-ice phase composition, adsorption-desorption and evaporation phenomena, and brine compositions of six antarctic soils that are considered to be good terrestrial analogues of the Martian surface materials are examined. Experiments have shown that, for temperatures below freezing and relative humidities less than 100 percent, absorbed water and vapor are the only stable phases in the regolith. When the relative humidity reaches 100 percent, ice may form and coexist with the absorbed liquid phase. The absorbed water content declines with decreasing temperature; however, the presence of dissolved solutes can result in appreciable adsorbed liquid phase at temperatures as low as 210 K. Such properties may have a profound influence on martial geomorphology, physical and chemical weathering, and the exchange of water between the atmosphere and regolith.

  3. Martian deltas: Morphology and distribution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rice, J. W., Jr.; Scott, D. H.

    1993-01-01

    Recent detailed mapping has revealed numerous examples of Martian deltas. The location and morphology of these deltas are described. Factors that contribute to delta morphology are river regime, coastal processes, structural stability, and climate. The largest delta systems on Mars are located near the mouths of Maja, Maumee, Vedra, Ma'adim, Kasei, and Brazos Valles. There are also several smaller-scale deltas emplaced near channel mouths situated in Ismenius Lacus, Memnonia, and Arabia. Delta morphology was used to reconstruct type, quantity, and sediment load size transported by the debouching channel systems. Methods initially developed for terrestrial systems were used to gain information on the relationships between Martian delta morphology, river regime, and coastal processes.

  4. Newly Discovered Martian Impact Basins

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stam, M.

    1985-01-01

    Three previously unrecognized Martian impact basins were discovered through detailed mapping of landforms, structures and terrains near Cassini and Al Qahira basins. Al Qahira A lies on the Martian dichotomy boundary and intersects the older basin, Al Qahira. It has four rings that are expressed by a variety of landforms. Southwestward Al Qahira A is out by a younger Basin, Al Qahira B. Al Qahira B is a highly degraded basin with one identifiable ring. Its ring is expressed by a few massifs, knobs and inward-facing scarps, but is recognized by the distributions of wrinkle ridges and plains units. Cassini A lies southward of the younger Cassini Basin and is intersected by it. It probably has four rings. The importance of detailed mapping of various types of landforms and terrains to the discovery of basins on Mars are demonstrated.

  5. Flank tectonics of Martian volcanoes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, Paul J.; Squyres, Steven W.; Carr, Michael H.

    1990-01-01

    The origin of the numerous terraces on the flanks of the Olympus Mons volcano on Mars, seen on space images to be arranged in a roughly concentric pattern, is investigated. The images of the volcano show that the base of each terrace is marked by a modest but abrupt change in slope, suggesting that these terraces could be thrust faults caused by a compressional failure of the cone. The mechanism of faulting and the possible effect of the interior structure of Olympus Mons was investigated using a numerical model for elastic stresses within a Martian volcano, constructed for that purpose. Results of the analysis supports the view that the terraces on Olympus Mons, as well as on other three Martian volcanoes, including Ascraeus Mons, Arsia Mons, and Pavonis Mons are indeed thrust faults.

  6. The Martian impact cratering record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strom, Robert G.; Croft, Steven K.; Barlow, Nadine G.

    1992-01-01

    A detailed analysis of the Martian impact cratering record is presented. The major differences in impact crater morphology and morphometry between Mars and the moon and Mercury are argued to be largely the result of subsurface volatiles on Mars. In general, the depth to these volatiles may decrease with increasing latitude in the southern hemisphere, but the base of this layer may be at a more or less constant depth. The Martial crustal dichotomy could have been the result of a very large impact near the end of the accretion of Mars. Monte Carlo computer simulations suggest that such an impact was not only possible, but likely. The Martian highland cratering record shows a marked paucity of craters less than about 30 km in diameter relative to the lunar highlands. This paucity of craters was probably the result of the obliteration of craters by an early period of intense erosion and deposition by aeolian, fluvial, and glacial processes.

  7. Do oblique impacts produce Martian meteorites?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyquist, L. E.

    Geochronological and geochemical characteristics of several achondritic meteorites match those expected of Martian rocks. Several authors have suggested that these meteorites might have originated on Mars, but no satisfactory explanation has been given of how they may have been ejected from the Martian surface. It is suggested that the oblique impact of large meteoroids may produce ejecta which is entrained with the ricocheting projectile and accelerated to velocities in excess of Martian escape velocity. This suggestion is based on earlier experimental studies of oblique impacts and on the observation of several large Martian craters with the characteristic 'butterfly' ejecta pattern produced by low angle impacts. Several acceleration mechanisms may act on the Martian ejecta. The considerations suggest that a Martian origin of the shergottite meteorites is dynamically possible.

  8. Martian "microfossils" in lunar meteorites?

    PubMed

    Sears, D W; Kral, T A

    1998-07-01

    One of the five lines of evidence used by McKay et al. (1996) for relic life in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was the presence of objects thought to be microfossils. These ovoid and elongated forms are similar to structures found in terrestrial rocks and described as "nanobacteria" (Folk, 1993; McBride et al., 1994). Using the same procedures and apparatus as McKay et al. (1996), we have found structures on internal fracture surfaces of lunar meteorites that cannot be distinguished from the objects described on similar surfaces in ALH 84001. The lunar surface is currently a sterile environment and probably always has been. However, the lunar and Martian meteorites share a common terrestrial history, which includes many thousands of years of exposure to Antarctic weathering. Although we do not know the origin of these ovoid and elongated forms, we suggest that their presence on lunar meteorites indicates that the objects described by McKay et al. (1996) are not of Martian biological origin. PMID:11543077

  9. Lunar and Martian hardware commonality

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davis, Hubert P.; Johnson, Robert E.; Phillips, Paul G.; Spear, Donald S.; Stump, William R.; Williams, Franklin U.

    1986-01-01

    A number of different hardware elements were examined for possible Moon/Mars program commonality. These include manned landers; cargo landers, a trans-Mars injection (TMI) stage, traverse vehicles, unmanned surface rovers, habitation modules, and power supplies. Preliminary analysis indicates that it is possible to build a common two-stage manned lander. A single-stage, reusable lander may be practical for the lunar cast, but much less so for the Martian case, and commonality may therefore exist only at the subsystem level. A modified orbit transfer vehicle was examined as a potential cargo lander. Potential cargoes to various destinations were calculated for a Shuttle external tank sized TMI stage. A nuclear powered, long range traverse vehicle was conceptually designed and commonality is considered feasible. Short range, unmanned rovers can be made common without great effort. A surface habitation module may be difficult to make common due to difficulties in landing certain shapes on the Martian surface with aerobraking landers. Common nuclear power sources appear feasible. High temperature radiators appear easy to make common. Low temperature radiators may be difficult to make common. In most of these cases, Martian requirements determine the design.

  10. Martian "microfossils" in lunar meteorites?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sears, Derek W. G.; Kral, Timothy A.

    1998-07-01

    One of the five lines of evidence used by McKay et al. (1996) for relic life in the martian meteorite Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was the presence of objects thought to be microfossils. These ovoid and elongated forms are similar to structures found in terrestrial rocks and described as "nanobacteria" (Folk, 1993; McBride et al., 1994). Using the same procedures and apparatus as McKay et al. (1996), we have found structures on internal fracture surfaces of lunar meteorites that cannot be distinguished from the objects described on similar surfaces in ALH 84001. The lunar surface is currently a sterile environment, and probably always has been. However, the lunar and martian meteorites share a common terrestrial history, including many thousands of years of exposure to Antarctic weathering. While we do not know the origin of these ovoid and elongated forms, we suggest that their presence on lunar meteorites indicates that the objects described by McKay et al. (1996) are not of martian biological origin.

  11. Yamato 980459: Crystallization of Martian Magnesian Magma

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koizumi, E.; Mikouchi, T.; McKay, G.; Monkawa, A.; Chokai, J.; Miyamoto, M.

    2004-01-01

    Recently, several basaltic shergottites have been found that include magnesian olivines as a major minerals. These have been called olivinephyric shergottites. Yamato 980459, which is a new martian meteorite recovered from the Antarctica by the Japanese Antarctic expedition, is one of them. This meteorite is different from other olivine-phyric shergottites in several key features and will give us important clues to understand crystallization of martian meteorites and the evolution of Martian magma.

  12. Assessing the volcanic probability of Martian landforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Otoole, M.

    1982-01-01

    A table for use in identifying Martian land forms that may be volcanic in nature is presented. Eight types of known volcanic features and associations are described and each assigned a point value based on the degree to which it is thought to be characteristic of volcanoes. The system is applied to four well known Martian volcanoes and to other Martian features which may or may not be volcanic in origin.

  13. The Late Triassic (norian) Adamanian-Revueltian Faunal Turnover in Petrified Forest National Park: Relationship to Paleoclimatic Change and the Manicouagan Bolide Impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martz, J. W.; Parker, W. G.

    2010-12-01

    Detailed revisions to the lithostratigraphy of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation in Petrified Forest National Park (PEFO), combined with the precise geographic and stratigraphic placement of vertebrate and pollen localities, has allowed biostratigraphic ranges of vertebrate taxa in the Chinle Formation to be plotted with greater detail and accuracy than previously possible, and also allows biotic and sedimentological changes to be compared. Vertebrate biostratigraphy in PEFO records a Norian faunal turnover (the Adamanian-Revueltian faunal turnover) in the terrestrial tetrapod fauna, which impacted a variety of archosauromorphs, therapsids, and temnospondyls. The data suggest that the overturn may have been abrupt, with characteristic taxa of the Adamanian and Revueltian faunas showing virtually no overlap. Phytosaurs and aetosaurs (the most common archosaur groups) underwent a transition in alpha taxa, and few groups (dicynodonts, Poposaurus, Trilophosaurus, and large metoposaurs) were either eliminated or underwent a major decline in abundance either at or sometime prior to the Adamanian-Revueltian boundary. Dinosauromorphs apparently maintained the same overall diversity (with lagerpetids, silesaurids, herrerasaurians, and “coelophysoids” being known from both the Adamanian and Revueltian faunas), although it is currently difficult to say how alpha taxonomy was impacted. Sedimentological evidence (i.e. the replacement of predominantly reduced mudstones with gleyed paleosols by predominantly oxidized mudstones with vertic and calcareous paleosols) indicates that the climate in western North America during the Late Triassic became increasingly arid during the Norian and Rhaetian, probably driven by the movement in western North America into the mid-latitudes. Pedogenic carbonate nodules first become extremely abundant at almost the exact the stratigraphic level of the Adamanian-Revueltian turnover. Moreover, new radioisotopic dates for the faunal turnover

  14. FTIR Spectra of Possible End Products of Martian Surface Weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maxe, L. P.

    2008-03-01

    Comparative analysis of IR spectra shows that martian weathering can lead to separating destruction of surface rocks. The semi-cosmic martian weathering results in amorphous silica dust and open unique ferry aluminum/ferry silicate martian rocks.

  15. Martian Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Badhwar, Gautam D.

    1999-01-01

    Space radiation presents a very serious hazard to crews of interplanetary human missions. The two sources of this radiation are the galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar energetic particle (SEP) events. The GCR provides a steady source of low dose rate radiation that is primarily responsible for stochastic effects, such as cancer, and can effect the response of the central nervous system. Nuclear interactions of these components with the Martian atmosphere produces substantial flux of neutrons with high Radio Biological Effectiveness. The uncertainty in the knowledge of many fragmentation cross sections and their energy dependence required by radiation transport codes, uncertainties in the ambient radiation environment, and knowledge of the Martian atmosphere, lead to large enough uncertainties in the knowledge of calculated radiation dose in both free space (cruise phase), in Martian orbit, and on Martian surface. Direct measurements of radiation levels, the relative contributions of protons, neutrons, and heavy ions, and Martian atmospheric characteristics is thus a prerequisite for any human mission. An integrated suite of two spectrometers to provide these data will be described. The Orbiter spectrometer will measure the energy spectrum of SEP events from 15 to 500 MeV/n, and when combined with data from other space based instruments, such as the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), would provide accurate GCR spectra also. The Lander spectrometer would measure the absorbed dose rate, dose equivalent dose rate, and the linear energy transfer (LET) spectra and is capable of separating the relative contribution of these quantities from protons, neutrons, and high Z particles. There are two separate flight instruments, one for the Orbiter and one for the Lander, based on a common design of the backplane, the central processing unit (CPU), power supply, and onboard data storage. The Orbiter instrument consists of an energetic particle spectrometer that can measure

  16. Martian Neutron Energy Spectrometer (MANES)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maurer, R. H.; Roth, D. R.; Kinnison, J. D.; Goldsten, J. O.; Fainchtein, R.; Badhwar, G.

    2000-01-01

    High energy charged particles of extragalactic, galactic, and solar origin collide with spacecraft structures and planetary atmospheres. These primaries create a number of secondary particles inside the structures or on the surfaces of planets to produce a significant radiation environment. This radiation is a threat to long term inhabitants and travelers for interplanetary missions and produces an increased risk of carcinogenesis, central nervous system (CNS) and DNA damage. Charged particles are readily detected; but, neutrons, being electrically neutral, are much more difficult to monitor. These secondary neutrons are reported to contribute 30-60% of the dose equivalent in the Shuttle and MIR station. The Martian atmosphere has an areal density of 37 g/sq cm primarily of carbon dioxide molecules. This shallow atmosphere presents fewer mean free paths to the bombarding cosmic rays and solar particles. The secondary neutrons present at the surface of Mars will have undergone fewer generations of collisions and have higher energies than at sea level on Earth. Albedo neutrons produced by collisions with the Martian surface material will also contribute to the radiation environment. The increased threat of radiation damage to humans on Mars occurs when neutrons of higher mean energy traverse the thin, dry Martian atmosphere and encounter water in the astronaut's body. Water, being hydrogeneous, efficiently moderates the high energy neutrons thereby slowing them as they penetrate deeply into the body. Consequently, greater radiation doses can be deposited in or near critical organs such as the liver or spleen than is the case on Earth. A second significant threat is the possibility of a high energy heavy ion or neutron causing a DNA double strand break in a single strike.

  17. Alaskan thermokarst terrain and possible Martian analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gatto, L. W.; Anderson, D. M.

    1975-01-01

    A first-order analog to Martian fretted terrain has been recognized on enhanced, ERTS-1 (Earth Resources Technology Satellite) imagery of Alaskan Arctic thermokarst terrain. The Alaskan analog displays flat-floored valleys and intervalley uplands characteristic of fretted terrain. The thermokarst terrain has formed in a manner similar to one of the processes postulated for the development of the Martian fretted terrain.

  18. Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay

    PubMed Central

    Nagashima, Kazuhide; Freeland, Stephen J.

    2013-01-01

    We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth. Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration. PMID:23762242

  19. Boron enrichment in martian clay.

    PubMed

    Stephenson, James D; Hallis, Lydia J; Nagashima, Kazuhide; Freeland, Stephen J

    2013-01-01

    We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth. Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration. PMID:23762242

  20. Antarctica as a Martian model.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vishniac, W. V.; Mainzer, S. E.

    1973-01-01

    Results of a survey of a variety of environments in the dry valleys of Antarctica, ranging from mountain crests to valley floors. The main purpose of the investigation was the determination of active microbial multiplication in the soil. A series of techniques was employed which permitted the detection of bacterial growth in situ. All evidence points to an active growth of micro-organisms in the Antarctic soil in all locations examined. The measurements were supported by electron micrographs of soil films which showed colonial growth covering soil particles. These findings suggest that Antarctica does not serve as a useful model for the Martian environment in evaluating quarantine standards.

  1. MGS View of Martian Magnetosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Espley, Jared

    2012-01-01

    The solar wind's interaction with Mars has been studied for several decades. However, the scientific results from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission represented a very significant step forward in our understanding in this subject. Missions since MGS, including missions currently under development such as MAVEN, have built on MGS' results. In this presentation, I briefly discuss the historical context of MGS' results regarding the induced Martian magnetosphere. I then highlight the major scientific results from the MGS observations and showcase ongoing investigations using MGS data.

  2. Chemical reactivity of the Martian soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Mckay, C. P.

    1992-01-01

    The Viking life sciences experimental packages detected extraordinary chemical activity in the martian soil, probably the result of soil-surface chemistry. At least one very strong oxidant may exist in the martian soil. The electrochemical nature of the martian soil has figured prominently in discussions of future life sciences research on Mars. Putative oxidants in the martian soil may be responsible for the destruction of organic material to considerable depth, precluding the recovery of reducing material that may be relic of early biological forms. Also, there have been serious expressions of concern regarding the effect that soil oxidants may have on human health and safety. The concern here has centered on the possible irritation of the respiratory system due to dust carried into the martian habitat through the air locks.

  3. Xenological constraints on the impact erosion of the early Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zahnle, K. J.

    1993-06-01

    This paper considers impact erosion as the agent of the early Martian atmophere escape, by examining xenon-related constraints imposed on the impact erosion. It is found that, if impact erosion of a planetary atmosphere is important, the remnant atmosphere is likely to fall into one of two qualitatively distinct categories: (1) cometary xenon has an unexpected isotopic composition or (2) factors other than impacts, such as outgassing or recycling, are needed. Neither of these categories can readily account for the present Martian atmosphere.

  4. Sampling Martian Soil (3-D)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1Figure 2

    Scientists were using the Moessbauer spectrometer on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit when something unexpected happened. The instrument's contact ring had been placed onto the ground as a reference point for placement of another instrument, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, for analyzing the soil. After Spirit removed the Moessbauer from the target, the rover's microscopic imager revealed a gap in the imprint left behind in the soil. The gap, about a centimeter wide (less than half an inch), is visible on the left side of this stereo view. Scientists concluded that a small chunk of soil probably adhered to the contact ring on the front surface of the Moessbauer. Before anyone saw that soil may have adhered to the Moessbauer, that instrument was placed to analyze martian dust collected by a magnet on the rover. The team plans to take images to see if any soil is still attached to the Moessbauer. Spirit took these images on the rover's 240th martian day, or sol (Sept. 4, 2004).

    Figure 1 is the left-eye view of a stereo pair and Figure 2 is the right-eye view of a stereo pair.

  5. Flank tectonics of Martian volcanoes

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, P.J. ); Squyres, S.W. ); Carr, M.H. )

    1990-08-30

    On the flanks of Olympus Mons is a series of terraces, concentrically distributed around the caldera. Their morphology and location suggest that they could be thrust faults caused by compressional failure of the cone. In an attempt to understand the mechanism of faulting and the possible influences of the interior structure of Olympus Mons, the authors have constructed a numerical model for elastic stresses within a Martian volcano. In the absence of internal pressurization, the middle slopes of the cone are subjected to compressional stress, appropriate to the formation of thrust faults. These stresses for Olympus Mons are {approximately}250 MPa. If a vacant magma chamber is contained within the cone, the region of maximum compressional stress is extended toward the base of the cone. If the magma chamber is pressurized, extensional stresses occur at the summit and on the upper slopes of the cone. For a filled but unpressurized magma chamber, the observed positions of the faults agree well with the calculated region of high compressional stress. Three other volcanoes on Mars, Ascraeus Mons, Arsia Mons, and Pavonis Mons, possess similar terraces. Extending the analysis to other Martian volcanoes, they find that only these three and Olympus Mons have flank stresses that exceed the compressional failure strength of basalt, lending support to the view that the terraces on all four are thrust faults.

  6. Martian oceans, valleys and climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, M.H.

    2000-01-01

    The new Mars Global Surveyor altimetry shows that the heavily cratered southern hemisphere of Mars is 5 km higher that the sparely cratered plains of the northern hemisphere. Previous suggestions that oceans formerly occupied that northern plains as evidenced by shorelines are partly supported by the new data. A previously identified outer boundary has a wide range of elevations and is unlikely to be a shoreline but an inner contact with a narrow range of elevations is a more likely candidate. No shorelines are visible in the newly acquired, 2.5 metre/pixel imaging. Newly imaged valleys provide strong support for sustained or episodic flow of water across the Martian surface. A major surprise, however, is the near absence of valleys less than 100 m across. Martian valleys seemingly do not divide into ever smaller valleys as terrestrial valleys commonly do. This could be due to lack of precipitation or lack of surface runoff because of high infiltration rates. High erosion rates and supports warm climates and presence of large bodies of water during heavy bombardment. The climate history and fate of the water after heavy bombardment remain cotroversial.

  7. Water Extraction from Martian Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wiens, J.; Bommarito, F.; Blumenstein, E.; Ellsworth, M.; Cisar, T.; McKinney, B.; Knecht, B.

    2001-01-01

    With the projected growth in space exploration, several milestones have been set for future space programs. One milestone in particular is the landing of a human on the planet Mars. However, one major barrier to the successful placement of persons on Mars is a lack of water on the Martian surface. Because of the massive quantity of water that would be necessary for a mission to Mars, it is not possible to transport the amount necessary from Earth to Mars. Water would be necessary for human consumption as well as a base for jet propulsion fuel. Past unmanned missions to Mars, such as the Viking missions of the 1970's, have revealed the presence of small quantities of water in Martian soil. Research has determined that the water in the soil can be recovered when the soil is heated to a temperature between 200 C and 500 C. Team JFEET has designed a system with the capability to extract water from the soil of Mars, and then meter and deliver the water to a storage tank for later use.

  8. Why do Martian Magmas erupt?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balta, J. B.; McSween, H. Y.

    2011-12-01

    Eruption of silicate lava, whether on Earth or another planet, requires that at some depth the melt has lower density than the surrounding rocks. As the densities of silicate liquids change during crystallization, whether a particular silicate liquid will erupt or be trapped at a level of neutral buoyancy is a complex yet fundamental issue for planetary dynamics. In general, 3 factors drive surface eruptions: inherent buoyancy relative to mantle phases, compositional evolution, and volatile contents. These factors manifest on Earth as terrestrial basalts commonly have compositions close to a density minimum [1]. Recent work has produced estimates of Martian parental magma compositions [2-5] based on shergottite meteorites and from Gusev crater. Using the MELTS algorithm [6] and other density calibrations, we simulated evolution of these liquids, focusing on density changes. For much of the crystallization path, density is controlled by FeO. All of the liquids begin with ρ ~ 2.8 g/cc at 1 bar, and the evolution of liquid density is controlled by the liquidus phases. At low pressures, olivine is the liquidus phase for each melt, and as FeO is not incompatible in olivine, olivine crystallization decreases liquid density, increasing buoyancy with crystallization. However, FeO is incompatible in pyroxene, and thus liquids crystallizing pyroxene become denser and less buoyant with crystallization, producing liquids with densities up to and above 3.0 g/cc. As the olivine-pyroxene saturation relationship is affected by pressure and chemistry, the identity of the liquidus phase and density evolution will vary between magmas. Without spreading centers, Mars has no location where the mantle approaches the surface, and it is likely that any magma which is denser than the crust will stall below or within that crust. The crystallization path of a liquid is a function of pressure, with pyroxene crystallizing first at P > 10 kbar (~80 km depth), close to the base of the Martian

  9. Comparison of Martian Meteorites and Martian Regolith as Shield Materials for Galactic Cosmic Rays

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Myung-Hee Y.; Thibeault, Sheila A.; Simonsen, Lisa C.; Wilson, John W.

    1998-01-01

    Theoretical calculations of radiation attenuation due to energetic galactic cosmic rays behind Martian rock and Martian regolith material have been made to compare their utilization as shields for advanced manned missions to Mars because the detailed chemical signature of Mars is distinctly different from Earth. The modified radiation fields behind the Martian rocks and the soil model were generated by solving the Boltzmann equation using a HZETRN system with the 1977 Solar Minimum environmental model. For the comparison of the attenuation characteristics, dose and dose equivalent are calculated for the five different subgroups of Martian rocks and the Martian regolith. The results indicate that changes in composition of subgroups of Martian rocks have negligible effects on the overall shielding properties because of the similarity of their constituents. The differences for dose and dose equivalent of these materials relative to those of Martian regolith are within 0.5 and 1 percent, respectively. Therefore, the analysis of Martian habitat construction options using in situ materials according to the Martian regolith model composition is reasonably accurate. Adding an epoxy to Martian regolith, which changes the major constituents of the material, enhances shielding properties because of the added hydrogenous constituents.

  10. Self-propagating high-temperature reactions for the fabrication of Lunar and Martian physical assets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corrias, Gianluca; Licheri, Roberta; Orrù, Roberto; Cao, Giacomo

    2012-01-01

    The development of a new process potentially useful for future manned Lunar and/or Martian space missions in the framework of the so-called ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) and ISFR (In-Situ Fabrication and Repair) concepts is described and discussed in this work. This process involves the fabrication of physical assets by self-propagating high temperature synthesis (SHS) for construction applications in Lunar and Martian environments starting from different Lunar or Martian regolith simulants and aluminum, as reducing agent. In addition, although Moon and Mars already contain ilmenite (FeTiO3) and iron oxides, respectively, the latter ones are also added to the initial mixtures to promote suitable SHS reactions. A complete scheme for the fabrication of physical assets to be used as protection against solar rays, solar wind and meteoroids, where all required stages are indicated, is finally proposed in the framework of a recently filed patent.

  11. Martian Meteorites Record Surface Temperatures on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, G. J.

    2005-07-01

    Using published data for argon (Ar) released when Martian meteorites are heated, David Shuster (California Institute of Technology, now at Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley, CA) and Benjamin Weiss (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) show that the nakhlite group of Martian meteorites and unique Martian meteorite ALH 84001 were probably not heated above about 0 degree C for most of their histories. This indicates that the surface of Mars has been cold for almost four billion years. If a warm, wet environment existed on Mars (inferred from previous studies of surface features and geochemical parameters), it occurred before four billion years ago.

  12. Magnetic and electrical properties of Martian particles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olhoeft, G. R.

    1991-01-01

    The only determinations of the magnetic properties of Martian materials come from experiments on the two Viking Landers. The results suggest Martian soil containing 1 to 10 percent of a highly magnetic phase. Though the magnetic phase mineral was not conclusively identified, the predominate interpretation is that the magnetic phase is probably maghemite. The electrical properties of the surface of Mars were only measured remotely by observations with Earth based radar, microwave radiometry, and inference from radio-occultation of Mars orbiting spacecraft. No direct measurements of electrical properties on Martian materials have been performed.

  13. Martian regolith as space radiation shielding

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simonsen, L. C.; Nealy, J. E.; Townsend, L. W.; Wilson, J. W.

    1991-01-01

    Mars exploration crews will be exposed to such high radiation dosages in route from earth that as to sharply reduce the allowable dose they should receive while on the Martian surface. An account is presently given of the possibility of using Martian regolith as crew shielding to maintain very low short-term dose limits. NASA-Langley's nucleon and heavy-ion transport computer codes are used to predict the propagation and interaction of the free-space nucleons and heavy ions through the Martian atmosphere and then through various thicknesses of regolith. The largest reduction in dose occurs in the first 15-20 cm of regolith material.

  14. Degradation studies of Martian impact craters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barlow, N. G.

    1991-01-01

    The amount of obliteration suffered by Martian impact craters is quantified by comparing measurable attributes of the current crater shape to those values expected for a fresh crater of identical size. Crater diameters are measured from profiles obtained using photoclinometry across the structure. The relationship between the diameter of a fresh crater and a crater depth, floor width, rim height, central peak height, etc. was determined by empirical studies performed on fresh Martian impact craters. We utilized the changes in crater depth and rim height to judge the degree of obliteration suffered by Martian impact craters.

  15. A model of Martian surface chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oyama, V. I.; Berdahl, B. J.

    1979-01-01

    Alkaline earth and alkali metal superoxides and peroxides, gamma-Fe2O3 and carbon suboxide polymer, are proposed to be constituents of the Martian surface material. These reactive substances explain the water modified reactions and thermal behaviors of the Martian samples demonstrated by all of the Viking Biology Experiments. It is also proposed that the syntheses of these substances result mainly from electrical discharges between wind-mobilized particles at Martian pressures; plasmas are initiated and maintained by these discharges. Active species in the plasma either combine to form or react with inorganic surfaces to create the reactive constituents.

  16. Geophysics of Martian Periglacial Processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mellon, Michael T.

    2004-01-01

    Through the examination of small-scale geologic features potentially related to water and ice in the martian subsurface (specifically small-scale polygonal ground and young gully-like features), determine the state, distribution and recent history of subsurface water and ice on Mars. To refine existing models and develop new models of near-surface water and ice, and develop new insights about the nature of water on Mars as manifested by these geologic features. Through an improved understanding of potentially water-related geologic features, utilize these features in addressing questions about where to best search for present day water and what space craft may encounter that might facilitate or inhibit the search for water.

  17. A Rainbow of Martian Elements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This graph or spectrum taken by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer onboard the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the variety of elements present in the soil at the rover's landing site. In agreement with past missions to Mars, iron and silicon make up the majority of the martian soil. Sulfur and chlorine were also observed as expected. Trace elements detected for the first time include zinc and nickel. These latter observations demonstrate the power of the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to pick up the signatures of elements too faint to be seen before. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer uses alpha particles and X-rays to measure the presence and abundance of all major rock-forming elements except hydrogen.

  18. Manganese, Metallogenium, and Martian Microfossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stein, L. Y.; Nealson, K. H.

    1999-01-01

    Manganese could easily be considered an abundant element in the Martian regolith, assuming that the composition of martian meteorites reflects the composition of the planet. Mineralogical analyses of 5 SNC meteorites have revealed an average manganese oxide concentration of 0.48%, relative to the 0.1% concentration of manganese found in the Earth's crust. On the Earth, the accumulation of manganese oxides in oceans, soils, rocks, sedimentary ores, fresh water systems, and hydrothermal vents can be largely attributed to microbial activity. Manganese is also a required trace nutrient for most life forms and participates in many critical enzymatic reactions such as photosynthesis. The wide-spread process of bacterial manganese cycling on Earth suggests that manganese is an important element to both geology and biology. Furthermore, there is evidence that bacteria can be fossilized within manganese ores, implying that manganese beds may be good repositories for preserved biomarkers. A particular genus of bacteria, known historically as Metallogenium, can form star-shaped manganese oxide minerals (called metallogenium) through the action of manganese oxide precipitation along its surface. Fossilized structures that resemble metallogenium have been found in Precambrian sedimentary formations and in Cretaceous-Paleogene cherts. The Cretaceous-Paleogene formations are highly enriched in manganese and have concentrations of trace elements (Fe, Zn, Cu, and Co) similar to modern-day manganese oxide deposits in marine environments. The appearance of metallogenium-like fossils associated with manganese deposits suggests that bacteria may be preserved within the minerals that they form. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  19. Evaporites: Analogs for Martian Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancinelli, R.; Fahlen, T.; Langheim, R.

    Recent data from Mars missions suggest that Mars almost certainly had abundant liquid water on its surface at some time in the past. As a result, Mars has emerged as a key Solar System target which could have harbored some form of life in its past and which could perhaps still possess some remnant in brine containing permafrost. As mars lost its atmosphere it became cold and dry. If any water remained to form permafrost high salt brine pockets would have formed within the ice. These brine pockets may either be an "oasis" for an extant Martian biota, or the last refuge of an extinct Martian biota. Eventually these brine pockets would have dried to form evaporites. Evaporites are deposits that result from the evaporation water containing salts, on earth consisting primarily of halite (NaCl) gypsum (CaSO4 . 2H2O) or anhydrite (CaSO4). Evaporites containing bacterial and algal assemblages exist on earth today and are well-known in the fossil record. The most likely organism type to survive in a salty brine or evaporite is a halophile. Washed mid-log phase and stationary phase cultures of Halobacterium salinarium either suspended in brine (25% NaCl), dried, or in the form of a paste prepared from a centrifuge pellet were exposed to -20 oC or -80 oC. As a control, E. coli was treated similarly except was suspended in 0.8% NaCl or deionized water. Periodically samples of the cells were removed and tested for survival. Preliminary data from these experiments suggest that under these conditions Halophiles can survive exposure to such low temperatures better than E. coli. This would suggest that halophiles may survive in permafrost containing evporites.

  20. Of Martian atmospheres, oceans, and fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helfer, H. L.

    1990-09-01

    A scenario is presently developed in which a substantial resemblance between Martian conditions up to 1.5 Gyr ago and those of the ancient earth led to the development of rudimentary life in Mars, in stages and on timescales that may be broadly comparable to terrestrial ones. The warm Martian oceans would give rise to both aerobic and anaerobic photosynthesizing prokaryotes, as well as such structures as stromatolites, which could in due course have transformed the Martian atmosphere as profoundly as those on earth. It is anticipated that the fossil remains of these rudimentary organisms can be found along the fringes of the ancient Martian oceans, which currently take the form of northern lowland plains.

  1. A Meteor Shower Origin for Martian Methane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fries, M.; Christou, A.; Archer, D.; Conrad, P.; Cooke, W.; Eigenbrode, J.; ten Kate, I. L.; Matney, M.; Niles, P.; Sykes, M.; Steele, A.; Treiman, A.

    2015-07-01

    We present and discuss the hypothesis that martian methane arises from a meteor shower source. Infall material produces methane by UV photolysis, generating localized plumes that occur after Mars/comet orbit interactions. This hypothesis is testable.

  2. The Argentinean Patagonia and the Martian landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pacifici, Andrea

    2009-05-01

    Throughout the Cenozoic Era, the geological history of the Argentinean Patagonia was dominated by basaltic volcanism and glacial and periglacial environments. Several geological and geomorphological processes that concurred to the sculpting of the landscape of this area could have been similar to those responsible of the shaping of the Martian surface. In this work a survey of some high-resolution satellite images of the Argentinean Patagonia is performed in order to identify possible geomorphological analogs of the Martian surface. Several morphologies that resemble Martian features are presented and discussed. They consist of proglacial and periglacial features, relatively small circular depressions, gullies, fan-deltas, eolian streaks, and diluvial dunes. Results suggest that the Argentinean Patagonia appears to consist of an interesting terrestrial analog for the Martian landscape. Furthermore, the study area shows to be interesting in order to test robotic instruments and human missions equipment, to train astronauts of future human expeditions to Mars, and to perform astrobiological experiments.

  3. Martian Unbound Water Inventories: Changes with Time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, M. H.; Head, J. W.

    2014-07-01

    We estimate that approximately 34 m GEL of unbound water is within 100 m of the martian surface today and 60-70 m are estimated for the end of the Hesperian. These estimates are reconciled with the geology.

  4. Ice-Ridge Pile Up and the Genesis of Martian "Shorelines"

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnhart, C. J.; Tulaczyk, S.; Asphaug, E.; Kraal, E. R.; Moore, J.

    2005-01-01

    Unique geomorphologic features such as basin terraces exhibiting topographic continuity have been found within several Martian craters as shown in Viking, MOC, and THEMIS images. These features, showing similarity to terrestrial shorelines, have been mapped and cataloged with significant effort [1]. Currently, open wave action on the surface of paleolakes has been hypothesized as the geomorphologic agent responsible for the generation of these features [2]. As consequence, feature interpretations, including shorelines, wave-cut benches, and bars are, befittingly, lacustrine. Because such interpretations and their formation mechanisms have profound implications for the climate and potential biological history of Mars, confidence is crucial. The insight acquired through linked quantitative modeling of geomorphologic agents and processes is key to accurately interpreting these features. In this vein, recent studies [3,4] involving the water wave energy in theoretical open water basins on Mars show minimal erosional effects due to water waves under Martian conditions. Consequently, sub-glacial lake flattens the surface, produces a local velocity increase over the lake, and creates a deviation of the ice flow from the main flow direction [11]. These consequences of ice flow are observed at Lake Vostok, Antarctica an excellent Martian analogue [11]. Martian observations include reticulate terrain exhibiting sharp inter-connected ridges speculated to reflect the deposition and reworking of ice blocks at the periphery of ice-covered lakes throughout Hellas [12]. Our model determines to what extent ice, a terrestrial geomorphologic agent, can alter the Martian landscape. Method: We study the evolution of crater ice plugs as the formation mechanism of surface features frequently identified as shorelines. In particular, we perform model integrations involving parameters such as ice slope and purity, atmospheric pressure and temperature, crater shape and composition, and an

  5. Magnetism and the putative early Martian life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochette, P.

    2001-08-01

    A short critical review is provided on three questions linking magnetism and the putative early Mars life. Was there a large internal Martian magnetic field, during which period, and is it a requisite for life? What is the origin of the paleomagnetic signal of Martian meteorites, including ALH84001? What is the present credibility of the case for fossil bacterial magnetite grains in ALH84001?

  6. Identifying Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westall, F.; McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Within the next decade, robotic missions are going to Mars with the search for evidence for extant and extinct life as at least one of the mission objectives. Moreover, the first Martian samples will be returned to Earth in 2008. It is therefore imperative that we can be certain that we can identify life in Martian rocks. In this paper we will not be discussing extant life but will concentrate on fossil life.

  7. Wind tunnel simulation of Martian sand storms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, R.

    1980-01-01

    The physics and geological relationships of particles driven by the wind under near Martian conditions were examined in the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel. Emphasis was placed on aeolian activity as a planetary process. Threshold speeds, rates of erosion, trajectories of windblown particles, and flow fields over various landforms were among the factors considered. Results of experiments on particles thresholds, rates of erosion, and the effects of electrostatics on particles in the aeolian environment are presented.

  8. Phosphates and Carbon in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mojzsis, Stephen J.

    2000-01-01

    This paper proposes tests for exobiological examination of samples prior to obtaining martian rocks of known provenance via future sample-return missions. If we assume that all of the secondary minerals in martian meteorite ET79001 were indeed cogenetic and originate from Mars, we list conclusions that can be drawn that are of exobiological interest. This work serves as a preamble for the subsequent work listed below.

  9. Sensitivity of Martian circulation to obliquity changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Segschneider, J.; Grieger, B.; Lunkeit, F.; Kirk, E.

    2003-04-01

    The obliquity of the Martian rotation axis varies between 15 and 35 degrees with main periods of 125 kyr and 1.3 My. This is thought to have similar impact on the Martian climate as the Milancovic cycles on Earth. The northern layered terrains indicate that climate cycles of yet unknown nature have led to varying accumulation and ablation rates. This study aims at investigating the impact of orbital changes on the Martian atmospheric circulation, while an accompanying study (CR5.05) aims at exploring the internal dynamics of the ice sheet. Here, PUMA, the Portable University Model of the Atmosphere, is used in the Martian set-up to perform sensitivity studies for minimum and maximum obliquity. PUMA is a spectral model with sigma co-ordinates that solves the dynamical equations for vorticity and divergence. Additional modules compute radiative transfers, the soil temperature and heat fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere. So far PUMA has been sucesfully used for modelling of the terrestial climate. As a first step towards a more complete simulation of the evolution of the Martian climate, simulations over one Martian year for minimum and maximum obliquity will be shown.

  10. On the weathering of Martian igneous rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dreibus, G.; Waenke, H.

    1992-01-01

    Besides the young crystallization age, one of the first arguments for the martian origin of shergottite, nakhlite, and chassignite (SNC) meteorites came from the chemical similarity of the meteorite Shergotty and the martian soil as measured by Viking XRF analyses. In the meantime, the discovery of trapped rare gas and nitrogen components with element and isotope ratios closely matching the highly characteristic ratios of the Mars atmosphere in the shock glasses of shergottite EETA79001 was further striking evidence that the SNC's are martian surface rocks. The martian soil composition as derived from the Viking mission, with its extremely high S and Cl concentrations, was interpreted as weathering products of mafic igneous rocks. The low SiO2 content and the low abundance of K and other trace elements in the martian soils point to a mafic crust with a considerably smaller degree of fractionation compared to the terrestrial crust. However, the chemical evolution of the martian regolith and soil in respect to surface reaction with the planetary atmosphere or hydrosphere is poorly understood. A critical point in this respect is that the geochemical evidence as derived from the SNC meteorites suggests that Mars is a very dry planet that should have lost almost all its initially large water inventory during its accretion.

  11. Rocket dust storms and detached layers in the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiga, A.; Faure, J.; Madeleine, J.; Maattanen, A. E.; Forget, F.

    2012-12-01

    Airborne dust is the main climatic agent in the Martian environment. Local dust storms play a key role in the dust cycle; yet their life cycle is poorly known. Here we use mesoscale modeling with radiatively-active transported dust to predict the evolution of a local dust storm monitored by OMEGA onboard Mars Express. We show that the evolution of this dust storm is governed by deep convective motions. The supply of convective energy is provided by the absorption of incoming sunlight by dust particles, in lieu of latent heating in moist convection on Earth. We propose to use the terminology "rocket dust storm", or conio-cumulonimbus, to describe those storms in which rapid and efficient vertical transport takes place, injecting dust particles at high altitudes in the Martian troposphere (30 to 50 km). Combined to horizontal transport by large-scale winds, rocket dust storms form detached layers of dust reminiscent of those observed with instruments onboard Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Detached layers are stable over several days owing to nighttime sedimentation being unable to counteract daytime convective transport, and to the resupply of convective energy at sunrise. The peak activity of rocket dust storms is expected in low-latitude regions at clear season, which accounts for the high-altitude tropical dust maximum unveiled by Mars Climate Sounder. Our findings on dust-driven deep convection have strong implications for the Martian dust cycle, thermal structure, atmospheric dynamics, cloud microphysics, chemistry, and robotic and human exploration.ensity-scaled dust optical depth at local times 1400 1600 and 1800 (lat 2.5°S, Ls 135°) hortwave heating rate at local time 1500 and latitude 2.5°S.

  12. Magmatic water in the martian meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallis, L. J.; Taylor, G. J.; Nagashima, K.; Huss, G. R.

    2012-12-01

    Mars does not recycle crustal materials via plate tectonics. For this reason the magmatic water reservoir of the martian mantle has not been affected by surface processes, and the deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio of this water should represent the original primordial martian value. Following this logic, hydrous primary igneous minerals on the martian surface should also carry this primordial D/H ratio, assuming no assimilation of martian atmospheric water during crystallization and no major hydrogen fractionation during melt degassing. Hydrous primary igneous minerals, such as apatite and amphibole, are present in martian meteorites here on Earth. Providing these minerals have not been affected by terrestrial weathering, martian atmospheric water, or shock processes after crystallization, they should contain a good approximation of the primordial martian D/H ratio. As Nakhla was seen to fall in the Egyptian desert in 1911, terrestrial contamination is minimized in this meteorite. The nakhlites are also among the least shocked of the martian meteorites. Therefore, apatite within Nakhla could contain primordial martian hydrogen isotope ratios. We produced in-situ measurements of the D/H ratios in Nakhla apatite grains, using a Cameca ims 1280 ion-microprobe. Our measurements produced D/H values in Nakhla apatite similar to terrestrial values, despite strong evidence that our samples were not significantly contaminated by terrestrial hydrogen. These results suggest that water trapped in the martian mantle has a similar D/H to that of the Earth. Therefore, the water of these two planets may have originated from the same source material. The D/H ratios of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, and the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2, are similar to the D/H of the two planets, making both these primitive inner solar system materials strong candidates for the source of the terrestrial planets water. These results support recent dynamical models of the formation of the

  13. Martian meteorites and Martian magnetic anomalies: A new perspective from NWA 7034

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Scorzelli, R. B.; Munayco, P.; Agee, C.; Quesnel, Y.; Cournède, C.; Geissman, J.

    2014-07-01

    We present the magnetic properties of the Noachian Martian breccia NWA 7034. Among the 25 unpaired Martian meteorites studied to date, NWA 7034 has a unique magnetic mineralogy. It contains about 15 wt % of iron oxides as magnetite that has experienced cation substitution and partial alteration to maghemite, with about a quarter of the oxides being pure maghemite. It also contains oxyhydroxides in the form of superparamagnetic goethite. The presence of maghemite and goethite makes NWA 7034 the most oxidized Martian meteorite. The overall magnetic assemblage is partly linked to near-surface hydrothermal alteration. The high concentration of magnetic phases with high laboratory unblocking temperatures makes NWA 7034 a plausible analogue source lithology for the strong magnetization of the Martian Noachian crust. Near-surface hydrothermal alteration can enhance the remanence of Martian rocks and account for local, high magnetic anomalies of shallow source.

  14. Blue moons and Martian sunsets.

    PubMed

    Ehlers, Kurt; Chakrabarty, Rajan; Moosmüller, Hans

    2014-03-20

    The familiar yellow or orange disks of the moon and sun, especially when they are low in the sky, and brilliant red sunsets are a result of the selective extinction (scattering plus absorption) of blue light by atmospheric gas molecules and small aerosols, a phenomenon explainable using the Rayleigh scattering approximation. On rare occasions, dust or smoke aerosols can cause the extinction of red light to exceed that for blue, resulting in the disks of the sun and moon to appear as blue. Unlike Earth, the atmosphere of Mars is dominated by micron-size dust aerosols, and the sky during sunset takes on a bluish glow. Here we investigate the role of dust aerosols in the blue Martian sunsets and the occasional blue moons and suns on Earth. We use the Mie theory and the Debye series to calculate the wavelength-dependent optical properties of dust aerosols most commonly found on Mars. Our findings show that while wavelength selective extinction can cause the sun's disk to appear blue, the color of the glow surrounding the sun as observed from Mars is due to the dominance of near-forward scattering of blue light by dust particles and cannot be explained by a simple, Rayleigh-like selective extinction explanation. PMID:24663457

  15. Martian seismicity. [from Viking data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goins, N. R.; Lazarewicz, A. R.

    1979-01-01

    During the Viking mission to Mars, the seismometer on Lander II collected approximately 0.24 earth years of observational data, excluding periods of time dominated by wind-induced Lander vibration. The 'quiet-time' data set contains no confirmed seismic events. A proper assessment of the significance of this fact requires quantitative estimates of the expected detection rate of the Viking seismometer. The first step is to calculate the minimum magnitude event detectable at a given distance, including the effects of geometric spreading, anelastic attenuation, seismic signal duration, seismometer frequency response, and possible poor ground coupling. Assuming various numerical quantities and a Martian seismic activity comparable to that of intraplate earthquakes, the appropriate integral gives an expected annual detection rate of 10 events, nearly all of which are local. Thus only two to three events would be expected in the observational period presently on hand and the lack of observed events is not in gross contradiction to reasonable expectations. Given the same assumptions, a seismometer 20 times more sensitive than the present instrument would be expected to detect about 120 events annually.

  16. Martian Magnets Under the Microscope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this microscopic imager view of its capture magnet on sol 92 (April 6, 2004). Both Spirit and the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity are equipped with a number of magnets. The capture magnet, as seen here, has a stronger charge than its sidekick, the filter magnet. The lower-powered filter magnet captures only the most magnetic airborne dust with the strongest charges, while the capture magnet picks up all magnetic airborne dust.

    The magnets' primary purpose is to collect the martian magnetic dust so that scientists can analyze it with the rovers' Moessbauer spectrometers. While there is plenty of dust on the surface of Mars, it is difficult to confirm where it came from, and when it was last airborne. Because scientists are interested in learning about the properties of the dust in the atmosphere, they devised this dust-collection experiment.

    The capture magnet is about 4.5 centimeters (1.8 inches) in diameter and is constructed with a central cylinder and three rings, each with alternating orientations of magnetization. Scientists have been monitoring the continual accumulation of dust since the beginning of the mission with panoramic camera and microscopic imager images. They had to wait until enough dust accumulated before they could get a Moessbauer spectrometer analysis. The results of that analysis, performed on sol 92, have not been sent back to Earth yet.

  17. Morning Frost on Martian Surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    A thin layer of water frost is visible on the ground around NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander in this image taken by the Surface Stereo Imager at 6 a.m. on Sol 79 (August 14, 2008), the 79th Martian day after landing. The frost begins to disappear shortly after 6 a.m. as the sun rises on the Phoenix landing site.

    The sun was about 22 degrees above the horizon when the image was taken, enhancing the detail of the polygons, troughs and rocks around the landing site.

    This view is looking east southeast with the lander's eastern solar panel visible in the bottom lefthand corner of the image. The rock in the foreground is informally named 'Quadlings' and the rock near center is informally called 'Winkies.'

    This false color image has been enhanced to show color variations.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  18. Characteristics of the Martian atmosphere surface layer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clow, G. D.; Haberle, R. M.

    1991-01-01

    Researchers extend elements of various terrestrial boundary layer models to Mars in order to estimate sensible heat, latent heat, and momentum fluxes within the Martian atmospheric surface layer. To estimate the molecular viscosity and thermal conductivity of a CO2-H2O gas mixture under Martian conditions, parameterizations were developed. Parameterizations for specific heat and and binary diffusivity were also determined. The Prandtl and Schmidt numbers derived from these thermophysical properties were found to range from 0.78 - 1.0 and 0.47 - 0.70, respectively, for Mars. Brutsaert's model for sensible and latent heat transport within the interfacial sublayer for both aerodynamically smooth and rough airflow was experimentally tested under similar conditions, validating its application to Martian conditions. For the surface sublayer, the researchers modified the definition of the Monin-Obukhov length to properly account for the buoyancy forces arising from water vapor gradients in the Martian atmospheric boundary layer. This length scale was then utilized with similarity theory turbulent flux profiles with the same form as those used by Businger et al. and others. It was found that under most Martian conditions, the interfacial and surface sublayers offer roughly comparable resistance to sensible heat and water vapor transport and are thus both important in determining the associated fluxes.

  19. Photovoltaic array for Martian surface power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Appelbaum, J.; Landis, G. A.

    1992-01-01

    Missions to Mars will require electric power. A leading candidate for providing power is solar power produced by photovoltaic arrays. To design such a power system, detailed information on solar-radiation availability on the Martian surface is necessary. The variation of the solar radiation on the Martian surface is governed by three factors: (1) variation in Mars-Sun distance; (2) variation in solar zenith angle due to Martian season and time of day; and (3) dust in the Martian atmosphere. A major concern is the dust storms, which occur on both local and global scales. However, there is still appreciable diffuse sunlight available even at high opacity, so that solar array operation is still possible. Typical results for tracking solar collectors are also shown and compared to the fixed collectors. During the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer the isolation is relatively high, 2-5 kW-hr/sq m-day, due to the low optical depth of the Martian atmosphere. These seasons, totalling a full terrestrial year, are the likely ones during which manned mission will be carried out.

  20. Photovoltaic arrays for Martian surface power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Appelbaum, Joseph; Landis, Geoffrey A.

    1992-01-01

    Missions to Mars will require electric power. A leading candidate for providing power is solar power produced by photovoltaic arrays. To design such a power system, detailed information on solar-radiation availability on the Martian surface is necessary. The variation of the solar radiation on the Martian surface is governed by three factors: (1) variation in Mars-sun distance; (2) variation on solar zenith angle due to Martian season and time of day; and (3) dust in the Martian atmosphere. A major concern is the dust storms, which occur on both local and global scales. However, there is still appreciable diffuse sunlight available even at high opacity, so that solar array operation is still possible. Typical results for tracking solar collectors are also shown and compared to the fixed collectors. During the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer the isolation is relatively high, 2-5 kW-hr/sq m-day due to the low optical depth of the Martian atmosphere. These seasons, totalling a full terrestrial year, are the likely ones during which manned mission will be carried out.

  1. Martian Polar Expeditions: Problems and Solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cockell, Charles S.

    2001-12-01

    The Martian polar ice caps are regions of substantial scientific interest, being the most dynamic regions of Mars. They are volatile sinks and thus closely linked to Martian climatic conditions. Because of their scale and the precedent set by the past history of polar exploration on Earth, it is likely that an age of polar exploration will emerge on the surface of Mars after the establishment of a capable support structure at lower latitudes. Expeditions might be launched either from a lower latitude base camp or from a human-tended polar base. Based on previously presented expeditionary routes to the Martian poles, in this paper a "spiral in-spiral out" unsupported transpolar assault on the Martian north geographical pole is used as a Reference expedition to propose new types of equipment for the human polar exploration of Mars. Martian polar "ball" tents and "hover" modifications to the Nansen sledge for sledging on CO 2-containing water ice substrates under low atmospheric pressures are suggested as elements for the success of these endeavours. Other challenges faced by these expeditions are quantitatively and qualitatively addressed.

  2. Martian external magnetic field proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langlais, Benoit; Civet, Francois

    2015-04-01

    Mars possesses no dynamic magnetic field of internal origin as it is the case for the Earth or for Mercury. Instead Mars is characterized by an intense and localized magnetic field of crustal origin. This field is the result of past magnetization and demagnetization processes, and reflects its evolution. The Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) interacts with Mars' ionized environment to create an external magnetic field. This external field is weak compared to lithospheric one but very dynamic, and may hamper the detailed analysis of the internal magnetic field at some places or times. Because there are currently no magnetic field measurements made at Mars' surface, it is not possible to directly monitor the external field temporal variability as it is done in Earth's ground magnetic observatories. In this study we examine to indirect ways of quantifying this external field. First we use the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) mission which measures the solar wind about one hour upstream of the bow-shock resulting from the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth's internal magnetic field. These measurements are extrapolated to Mars' position taking into account the orbital configurations of the Mars-Earth system and the velocity of particles carrying the IMF. Second we directly use Mars Global Surveyor magnetic field measurements to quantify the level of variability of the external field. We subtract from the measurements the internal field which is otherwise modeled, and bin the residuals first on a spatial and then on a temporal mesh. This allows to compute daily or semi daily index. We present a comparison of these two proxies and demonstrate their complementarity. We also illustrate our analysis by comparing our Martian external field proxies to terrestrial index at epochs of known strong activity. These proxies will especially be useful for upcoming magnetic field measurements made around or at the surface of Mars.

  3. The wavelength dependence of Martian atmospheric dust radiative properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pollack, J. B.; Ockert-Bell, M. E.; Arvidson, R.; Shepard, M.

    1993-01-01

    One of the key radiative agents in the atmosphere of Mars is the suspended dust particles. A new analysis of two data sets of the Martian atmosphere is being carried out in order to better evaluate the radiative properties of the atmospheric dust particles. The properties of interest are the size distribution, optical constants, and other radiative properties, such as the single-scattering albedo and phase function. Of prime importance is the wavelength dependence of these radiative properties throughout the visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Understanding the wavelength dependence of absorption and scattering characteristics will provide a good definition of the influence that the atmospheric dust has on heating of the atmosphere.

  4. Life on Mars: Evidence from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keptra, Katie L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Spencer, Lauren; Wentworth, Susan J.

    2009-01-01

    New data on martian meteorite 84001 as well as new experimental studies show that thermal or shock decomposition of carbonate, the leading alternative non-biologic explanation for the unusual nanophase magnetite found in this meteorite, cannot explain the chemistry of the actual martian magnetites. This leaves the biogenic explanation as the only remaining viable hypothesis for the origin of these unique magnetites. Additional data from two other martian meteorites show a suite of biomorphs which are nearly identical between meteorites recovered from two widely different terrestrial environments (Egyptian Nile bottomlands and Antarctic ice sheets). This similarity argues against terrestrial processes as the cause of these biomorphs and supports an origin on Mars for these features.

  5. Radiosondes for Characterizing the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schumacher, D. M.; Dorney, D. J.; McGrath, M. A.

    2012-01-01

    The National Weather Service (NWS) releases approximately 75,000 radiosondes each year to measure pressure, altitude, temperature, relative humidity, wind and cosmic radiation [1]. The data obtained from these measurements have led to a more thorough understanding of the Earth s lower atmosphere. On the contrary, there have been only six fully successful landings on Mars, and there is much less known about the variations in winds, density, etc., in the mid-regions of the Martian atmosphere (see Fig. 1). This data is vital to understanding Martian weather and the development of Mars landers for larger payloads [2,3,4]. Mars has too much atmosphere to land like is done on the moon, and too little atmosphere to land like is done on Earth. It is suggested that radiosondes could be added as secondary payloads on Mars missions and used to map physical properties in the different regions of the Martian atmosphere.

  6. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites.

    PubMed

    Blamey, Nigel J F; Parnell, John; McMahon, Sean; Mark, Darren F; Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin; Shivak, Jared; Izawa, Matthew R M; Banerjee, Neil R; Flemming, Roberta L

    2015-01-01

    The putative occurrence of methane in the Martian atmosphere has had a major influence on the exploration of Mars, especially by the implication of active biology. The occurrence has not been borne out by measurements of atmosphere by the MSL rover Curiosity but, as on Earth, methane on Mars is most likely in the subsurface of the crust. Serpentinization of olivine-bearing rocks, to yield hydrogen that may further react with carbon-bearing species, has been widely invoked as a source of methane on Mars, but this possibility has not hitherto been tested. Here we show that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing. The occurrence of methane in Martian rock samples adds strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity. PMID:26079798

  7. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites

    PubMed Central

    Blamey, Nigel J. F.; Parnell, John; McMahon, Sean; Mark, Darren F.; Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin; Shivak, Jared; Izawa, Matthew R. M.; Banerjee, Neil R.; Flemming, Roberta L.

    2015-01-01

    The putative occurrence of methane in the Martian atmosphere has had a major influence on the exploration of Mars, especially by the implication of active biology. The occurrence has not been borne out by measurements of atmosphere by the MSL rover Curiosity but, as on Earth, methane on Mars is most likely in the subsurface of the crust. Serpentinization of olivine-bearing rocks, to yield hydrogen that may further react with carbon-bearing species, has been widely invoked as a source of methane on Mars, but this possibility has not hitherto been tested. Here we show that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing. The occurrence of methane in Martian rock samples adds strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity. PMID:26079798

  8. Did Martian Meteorites Come From These Sources?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martel, L. M. V.

    2007-01-01

    Large rayed craters on Mars, not immediately obvious in visible light, have been identified in thermal infrared data obtained from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) onboard Mars Odyssey. Livio Tornabene (previously at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and now at the University of Arizona, Tucson) and colleagues have mapped rayed craters primarily within young (Amazonian) volcanic plains in or near Elysium Planitia. They found that rays consist of numerous chains of secondary craters, their overlapping ejecta, and possibly primary ejecta from the source crater. Their work also suggests rayed craters may have formed preferentially in volatile-rich targets by oblique impacts. The physical details of the rayed craters and the target surfaces combined with current models of Martian meteorite delivery and cosmochemical analyses of Martian meteorites lead Tornabene and coauthors to conclude that these large rayed craters are plausible source regions for Martian meteorites.

  9. Material issues for lunar/Martian structures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Radford, Donald W.; Sadeh, Willy Z.; Cheng, Boyle C.

    1991-01-01

    Development of structures in the lunar/Martian environment depends upon the use of the most appropriate materials. Advanced composite materials are apparently the best candidates for use in structures on planetary surfaces and in space in view of their unique properties, tailorability and light weight. The physical and mechanical properties of advanced composite materials as related to their use in lunar/Martian structures are reviewed. Polymer matrix composites are recommended as the best materials in the first exploration stages of a lunar/Martian base. Increased use of ceramic and metal matrix composites is expected in the more advanced exploration stages. The pressing need for the development of tailored radiation shielding composite materials is discussed.

  10. Cosmogenic nuclides: Observable effects of Martian volatiles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reedy, R. C.; Drake, D. M.; Feldman, W. C.

    1988-01-01

    Cosmic-ray produced (cosmogenic) nuclides in returned Martian samples could be used to study the amounts and distributions of volatiles in the recent past on Mars. In planning for the gamma-ray spectrometer experiment that is scheduled to fly on the Mars Observer, many calculations were done on the nuclear reactions that should occur in the Martian surface, studying especially the production and transport of neutrons. It is found that three aspects of Mars can very significantly affect the production of cosmogenic products in Mars: the Martian atmosphere and the presence of H2O in or CO2 on the surface of Mars. These volatile components can greatly affect the energy and spatial distributions of neutrons, expecially those with thermal or near thermal energies, in the surface of Mars. In turn, these neutrons produce many cosmogenic nuclides that can be observed in samples returned from Mars.

  11. Chemical evolution of the early Martian hydrosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schaefer, M. W.

    1990-01-01

    The chemical evolution of the early Martian hydrosphere is discussed. The early Martian ocean can be modeled as a body of relatively pure water in equilibrium with a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere. The chemical weathering of lavas, pyroclastic deposits, and impact melt sheets would have the effect of neutralizing the acidity of the juvenile water. As calcium and other cations are added to the water by chemical weathering, they are quickly removed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate and other minerals, forming a deposit of limestone beneath the surface of the ocean. As the atmospheric carbon dioxide pressure and the temperature decrease, the Martian ocean would be completely frozen. Given the scenario for the chemical evolution of the northern lowland plains of Mars, it should be possible to draw a few conclusions about the expected mineralogy and geomorphology of this regions.

  12. Do oblique impacts produce Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyquist, L. E.

    1983-11-01

    It is pointed out that several achondritic meteorites, classified as shergottites, nakhlites, and chassignites, have a number of unusual characteristics. Following the suggestion of Wood and Ashwal (1981) these meteorites are collectively referred to as SNC meteorites. The major element compositions of the SNC meteorites are, in general, distinct from those of other meteorites and lunar samples, and similar to certain terrestrial rocks. The geochemical and geochronological characteristics of the SNC meteorites strongly imply that their parent body was on the order of lunar size or larger and geologically active. Serious attention must be given to the hypothesis of a Martian origin of the SNC meteorites and to dynamic processes capable of delivering Martian meteorites to earth. In connection with the present investigation, it is suggested that oblique impacts of large meteoroids can produce ejecta which is entrained with the ricocheting projectile and accelerated to velocities in excess of Martian escape velocity.

  13. Martian Surface after Phoenix's Conductivity Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Robotic Arm Camera took this image on Sol 71 (August 6, 2008), the 71st Martian day after landing. The shadow shows the outline of Phoenix's Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe, or TECP. The holes seen in the Martian surface were made by this instrument to measure the soil's conductivity. A fork-like probe inserted into the soil checks how well heat and electricity move through the soil from one prong to another.

    The measurements completed Wednesday ran from the afternoon of Phoenix's 70th Martian day, or sol, to the morning of Sol 71.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  14. A Hypothesis for the Abiotic and Non-Martian Origins of Putative Signs of Ancient Martian Life in ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H.

    2001-01-01

    Putative evidence of martian life in ALH84001 can be explained by abiotic and non-martian processes consistent with the meteorite's geological history. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  15. Estimation of high altitude Martian dust parameters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pabari, Jayesh; Bhalodi, Pinali

    2016-07-01

    Dust devils are known to occur near the Martian surface mostly during the mid of Southern hemisphere summer and they play vital role in deciding background dust opacity in the atmosphere. The second source of high altitude Martian dust could be due to the secondary ejecta caused by impacts on Martian Moons, Phobos and Deimos. Also, the surfaces of the Moons are charged positively due to ultraviolet rays from the Sun and negatively due to space plasma currents. Such surface charging may cause fine grains to be levitated, which can easily escape the Moons. It is expected that the escaping dust form dust rings within the orbits of the Moons and therefore also around the Mars. One more possible source of high altitude Martian dust is interplanetary in nature. Due to continuous supply of the dust from various sources and also due to a kind of feedback mechanism existing between the ring or tori and the sources, the dust rings or tori can sustain over a period of time. Recently, very high altitude dust at about 1000 km has been found by MAVEN mission and it is expected that the dust may be concentrated at about 150 to 500 km. However, it is mystery how dust has reached to such high altitudes. Estimation of dust parameters before-hand is necessary to design an instrument for the detection of high altitude Martian dust from a future orbiter. In this work, we have studied the dust supply rate responsible primarily for the formation of dust ring or tori, the life time of dust particles around the Mars, the dust number density as well as the effect of solar radiation pressure and Martian oblateness on dust dynamics. The results presented in this paper may be useful to space scientists for understanding the scenario and designing an orbiter based instrument to measure the dust surrounding the Mars for solving the mystery. The further work is underway.

  16. Martian Moon Eclipses Sun, in Stages

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This panel illustrates the transit of the martian moon Phobos across the Sun. It is made up of images taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the morning of the 45th martian day, or sol, of its mission. This observation will help refine our knowledge of the orbit and position of Phobos. Other spacecraft may be able to take better images of Phobos using this new information. This event is similar to solar eclipses seen on Earth in which our Moon passes in front of the Sun. The images were taken by the rover's panoramic camera.

  17. Martian surface paleotemperatures from thermochronology of meteorites.

    PubMed

    Shuster, David L; Weiss, Benjamin P

    2005-07-22

    The temporal evolution of past martian surface temperatures is poorly known. We used thermochronology and published noble gas and petrographic data to constrain the temperature histories of the nakhlites and martian meteorite ALH84001. We found that the nakhlites have not been heated to more than 350 degrees C since they formed. Our calculations also suggest that for most of the past 4 billion years, ambient near-surface temperatures on Mars are unlikely to have been much higher than the present cold (<0 degrees C) state. PMID:16040703

  18. Martian Surface Paleotemperatures from Thermochronology of Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shuster, David L.; Weiss, Benjamin P.

    2005-07-01

    The temporal evolution of past martian surface temperatures is poorly known. We used thermochronology and published noble gas and petrographic data to constrain the temperature histories of the nakhlites and martian meteorite ALH84001. We found that the nakhlites have not been heated to more than 350°C since they formed. Our calculations also suggest that for most of the past 4 billion years, ambient near-surface temperatures on Mars are unlikely to have been much higher than the present cold (<0°C) state.

  19. Ozone heating in the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindner, Bernhard L.

    1991-01-01

    In addition to establishing that ozone constitutes a nonnegligible but only minor heat source in the Martian atmosphere, it is presently shown that the ozone abundance's hemispherical asymmetry is an improbable factor in the establishment of the polar caps' observed hemispherical asymmetry, since ozone absorbs less than 1 percent of the total solar flux incident on the polar caps. In the remaining hypothesized roles for Martian atmospheric ozone considered, namely those of cloud formation and snowfall, ozone heating remains nonnegligible but appears overstated by previous studies.

  20. Martian Soil Inside Phoenix's Robotic Arm Scoop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) shows material from the Martian surface captured by the Robotic Arm (RA) scoop during its first test dig and dump on the seventh Martian day of the mission, or Sol 7 (June 1, 2008). The test sample shown was taken from the digging area informally known as 'Knave of Hearts.'

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  1. Martian Surface as Seen by Phoenix

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This colorglyph, acquired by NASA's Phoenix Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 8, the eighth Martian day of the mission (June 2, 2008), shows a stereoscopic 3D view of the Martian surface near the lander. This area is part of Phoenix's workplace and is informally called 'Wonderland.'

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  2. Evolution of the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pepin, R. O.

    1993-01-01

    Evolution of Mars' noble gases through two stages of hydrodynamic escape early in planetary history has been proposed previously by the author. In the first evolutionary stage of this earlier model, beginning at a solar age of approximately 50 m.y., fractionating escape of a H2-rich primordial atmosphere containing CO2, N2, and the noble gases in roughly the proportions found in primitive carbonaceous (CI) chondrites is driven by intense extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) leads to a long (approximately 80 m.y.) period of quiescence, followed by an abrupt degassing of remnant H2, CO2, and N2 from the mantle and of solar-composition noble gases lighter than Xe from the planet's volatile-rich accretional core. Degassed H refuels hydrodynamic loss in a waning but still potent solar EUV flux. Atmospheric Xe, Kr, and Ar remaining at the end of this second escape stage, approximately 4.2 G.y. ago, have evolved to their present-day abundances and compositions. Residual Ne continues to be modified by accretion of solar wind gases throughout the later history of the planet. This model does not address a number of processes that now appear germane to Martian atmospheric history. One, gas loss and fractionation by sputtering, has recently been shown to be relevant. Another, atmospheric erosion, appears increasingly important. In the absence then of a plausible mechanism, the model did not consider the possibility of isotopic evolution of noble gases heavier than Ne after the termination of hydrodynamic escape. Subsequent non-thermal loss of N was assumed, in an unspecified way, to account for the elevation of N from the model value of approximately 250 percent at the end of the second escape stage to approximately 620 percent today. Only qualitative attention was paid to the eroding effects of impact on abundances of all atmophilic species prior to the end of heavy bombardment approximately 3.8 G.y. ago. No attempt was made to include precipitation and recycling of carbonates in

  3. Evolution of the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pepin, R. O.

    Evolution of Mars' noble gases through two stages of hydrodynamic escape early in planetary history has been proposed previously by the author. In the first evolutionary stage of this earlier model, beginning at a solar age of approximately 50 m.y., fractionating escape of a H2-rich primordial atmosphere containing CO2, N2, and the noble gases in roughly the proportions found in primitive carbonaceous (CI) chondrites is driven by intense extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) leads to a long (approximately 80 m.y.) period of quiescence, followed by an abrupt degassing of remnant H2, CO2, and N2 from the mantle and of solar-composition noble gases lighter than Xe from the planet's volatile-rich accretional core. Degassed H refuels hydrodynamic loss in a waning but still potent solar EUV flux. Atmospheric Xe, Kr, and Ar remaining at the end of this second escape stage, approximately 4.2 G.y. ago, have evolved to their present-day abundances and compositions. Residual Ne continues to be modified by accretion of solar wind gases throughout the later history of the planet. This model does not address a number of processes that now appear germane to Martian atmospheric history. One, gas loss and fractionation by sputtering, has recently been shown to be relevant. Another, atmospheric erosion, appears increasingly important. In the absence then of a plausible mechanism, the model did not consider the possibility of isotopic evolution of noble gases heavier than Ne after the termination of hydrodynamic escape. Subsequent non-thermal loss of N was assumed, in an unspecified way, to account for the elevation of N from the model value of approximately 250 percent at the end of the second escape stage to approximately 620 percent today. Only qualitative attention was paid to the eroding effects of impact on abundances of all atmophilic species prior to the end of heavy bombardment approximately 3.8 G.y. ago. No attempt was made to include precipitation and recycling of carbonates in

  4. Martian surface roughness and stratigraphy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beyer, Ross Alan

    2004-12-01

    Orbital datasets can be combined and manipulated to learn about the three- dimensional structure of planetary surfaces, and the processes that have acted on them. The Mars Orbital Camera (MOC) is providing high-resolution images. These images allow qualitative inspection of features, and contain quantitative information about the shape of the surface. Using a photoclinometry technique derived from a lunar-Lambert photometric function, I am able to obtain estimates of the down-sun slope of each pixel in an image. This technique was calibrated against synthetic topography, compared to an area photoclinometry technique, and applied to the Viking and Pathfinder landing sites. It is a robust technique for obtaining the roughness and slope characteristics of large areas. It was applied to the potential landing sites for the Mars Exploration Rovers to evaluate site safety. The slopes from this point photoclinometry technique can be used to obtain a rough estimate of topography, which I used in a number of studies where topographic information was crucial. MOC images have shown that layering is pervasive on the martian surface. Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data can be registered to MOC images to provide elevation constraints on layer outcrops. Such layers are observed in eastern Coprates Chasma both in the chasma rim and in a flat-topped massif. Observations indicate that the chasma stratigraphy consists of thin sequences of resistant layers and intervening thicker sequences of relatively less resistant layers. More resistant units cap the massif against erosion and result in steeper slopes than the weaker units would otherwise allow. These resistant layers can be used as stratigraphic markers which have allowed me to measure the subsidence and tilting of the massif relative to the chasma walls, providing evidence for tectonic motion in this portion of the Valles Marineris. These outcrops indicate that some of these layers may be analogus to terristrial flood

  5. Evidence for Ancient Martian Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Three SNC meteorites ranging in age from 4.5 Ga. to 1.3 Ga. to 165 m.y. contain features suggestive, of past biogenic activity on Mars. Because we do not know what past martian life looks like or its physical or chemical properties, the only tools or criteria which the scientific community have to evaluate evidence of past life is to use evidence for early life on earth. There are features within ALH8400 I's carbonate globules and the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration phases of Nakhla and Shergotty which have been interpreted as possible evidence for past life on early Mars. Eight criteria have been established for the recognition of past life within terrestrial geologic samples. They are: (a) geologic context; (b) sample's age and stratigraphic location (c) cellular morphology; (d) colonies; (e) biominerals; (f) stable isotope patterns unique to biology; (g) organic biomarkers; (h) indigenous features to the sample. For general acceptance of past life, essentially most or all of these criteria must be met. Studies have shown conclusively that the reduced carbon components in ALH84001 and Nakhla are indigenous to the meteorites and are not terrestrial contaminants Based on carbon isotopic compositions and mineralogical morphologies, there is no question or disagreement that the carbonate globules or embedded magnetites in ALH84001 and the pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration products in Nakhla and Shergotty were formed on Mars. Possible microfossil structures and some reduced carbon components in the carbonates and pre-terrestrial aqueous alteration products are, therefore, almost certainly indigenous, but other possible evidence for life (e.g. amino acids) may be a result of terrestrial contamination Our hypothesis of possible early life on Mars was presented in August 1996. Today, we believe it stands stronger than when originally presented. To date, no fatal strikes have been made to any of our original four lines of evidence. While details of the hypothesis are

  6. Ion Microprobe Measurements of Carbon Isotopes in Martian Phosphates: Insights into the Martian Mantle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goreva, J. S.; Leshin, L. A.; Guan, Y.

    2003-03-01

    In-situ measurements of C in the phosphates from meteorites Los Angeles, Zagami, QUE94201 and ALH84001 predict isotopically light martian magmatic C, heavier than previous estimates yet significantly lighter than the terrestrial value.

  7. Some probable characteristics of the Martian regolith

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Elbert A.

    1987-01-01

    A number of Mars surface environmental factors seriously affect the properties of the Martian regolith. The result is a regolith that is rather different from that of the moon. Some of the anticipated differences are discussed: weathering and lack of old glass; desert varnish; lack of micrometeorite impact products; abundance of meteorite fragments; and different grain size characteristics.

  8. Paleomagnetic record of Martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antretter, Maria; Fuller, Mike; Scott, Edward; Jackson, Mike; Moskowitz, Bruce; Solheid, Peter

    2003-06-01

    The natural remanent magnetization (NRM) of the Martian meteorite ALH84001 is predominantly carried by fine magnetite, which is found in association with carbonate. The magnetite is in epitaxial and topotactic relation with the carbonate and formed from the carbonate in the major impact event at 4.0 Ga. The NRM will therefore record this field. The local preferential crystallographic and shape alignment of the magnetite defines local easy directions of magnetization may account for the observed inhomogeneity of the NRM on a microscopic scale. Normalizing the intensity of the NRM by the saturation isothermal remanence (IRMs) then gives an estimate for the 4.0 Ga Martian field one order smaller than the present geomagnetic field. Such a field is unlikely to be strong enough to generate the high-intensity Martian magnetic anomalies. ALH 84001 in its pristine state as an orthopyroxenite is not a plausible source rock for the Martian anomalies because its magnetite was not formed until the 4.0 Ga event.

  9. Meteoric Magnesium Ions in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pesnell, William Dean; Grebowsky, Joseph

    1999-01-01

    From a thorough modeling of the altitude profile of meteoritic ionization in the Martian atmosphere we deduce that a persistent layer of magnesium ions should exist around an altitude of 70 km. Based on current estimates of the meteoroid mass flux density, a peak ion density of about 10(exp 4) ions/cm is predicted. Allowing for the uncertainties in all of the model parameters, this value is probably within an order of magnitude of the correct density. Of these parameters, the peak density is most sensitive to the meteoroid mass flux density which directly determines the ablated line density into a source function for Mg. Unlike the terrestrial case, where the metallic ion production is dominated by charge-exchange of the deposited neutral Mg with the ambient ions, Mg+ in the Martian atmosphere is produced predominantly by photoionization. The low ultraviolet absorption of the Martian atmosphere makes Mars an excellent laboratory in which to study meteoric ablation. Resonance lines not seen in the spectra of terrestrial meteors may be visible to a surface observatory in the Martian highlands.

  10. The Chlorine Isotope Composition of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Shearer, C. K.; Agee, C.; Burger, P. V.; McKeegan, K. D.

    2014-11-01

    The Cl isotope composition of martian meteorites range from -3.8 to +8.6 per mil. Ol-phyric shergottites are lightest; crustally contaminated samples are heaviest, basaltic shergottites are in-between. The system is explained as two component mixing.

  11. Prospects for Chronological Studies of Martian Rocks and Soils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C-Y.; Reese, Y. D.

    2008-01-01

    Chronological information about Martian processes comes from two sources: Crater-frequency studies and laboratory studies of Martian meteorites. Each has limitations that could be overcome by studies of returned Martian rocks and soils. Chronology of Martian volcanism: The currently accepted chronology of Martian volcanic surfaces relies on crater counts for different Martian stratigraphic units [1]. However, there is a large inherent uncertainty for intermediate ages near 2 Ga ago. The effect of differing preferences for Martian cratering chronologies [1] is shown in Fig. 1. Stoeffler and Ryder [2] summarized lunar chronology, upon which Martian cratering chronology is based. Fig. 2 shows a curve fit to their data, and compares to it a corresponding lunar curve from [3]. The radiometric ages of some lunar and Martian meteorites as well as the crater-count delimiters for Martian epochs [4] also are shown for comparison to the craterfrequency curves. Scaling the Stoeffler-Ryder curve by a Mars/Moon factor of 1.55 [5] places Martian shergottite ages into the Early Amazonian to late Hesperian epochs, whereas using the lunar curve of [3] and a Mars/Moon factor 1 consigns the shergottites to the Middle-to-Late Amazonian, a less probable result. The problem is worsened if a continually decreasing cratering rate since 3 Ga ago is accepted [6]. We prefer the adjusted St ffler-Ryder curve because it gives better agreement with the meteorite ages (Fig.

  12. Water retention of selected microorganisms and Martian soil simulants under close to Martian environmental conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jänchen, J.; Bauermeister, A.; Feyh, N.; de Vera, J.-P.; Rettberg, P.; Flemming, H.-C.; Szewzyk, U.

    2014-08-01

    Based on the latest knowledge about microorganisms resistant towards extreme conditions on Earth and results of new complex models on the development of the Martian atmosphere we quantitatively examined the water-bearing properties of selected extremophiles and simulated Martian regolith components and their interaction with water vapor under close to Martian environmental conditions. Three different species of microorganisms have been chosen and prepared for our study: Deinococcus geothermalis, Leptothrix sp. OT_B_406, and Xanthoria elegans. Further, two mineral mixtures representing the early and the late Martian surface as well as montmorillonite as a single component of phyllosilicatic minerals, typical for the Noachian period on Mars, were selected. The thermal mass loss of the minerals and bacteria-samples was measured by thermoanalysis. The hydration and dehydration properties were determined under close to Martian environmental conditions by sorption isotherm measurements using a McBain-Bakr quartz spring balance. It was possible to determine the total water content of the materials as well as the reversibly bound water fraction as function of the atmospheres humidity by means of these methods. Our results are important for the evaluation of future space mission outcomes including astrobiological aspects and can support the modeling of the atmosphere/surface interaction by showing the influence on the water inventory of the upper most layer of the Martian surface.

  13. Workshop on Evolution of Martian Volatiles. Part 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jakosky, B. (Editor); Treiman, A. (Editor)

    1996-01-01

    This volume contains papers that were presented on February 12-14, 1996 at the Evolution for Martian Volatiles Workshop. Topics in this volume include: returned Martian samples; acidic volatiles and the Mars soil; solar EUV Radiation; the ancient Mars Thermosphere; primitive methane atmospheres on Earth and Mars; the evolution of Martian water; the role of SO2 for the climate history of Mars; impact crater morphology; the formation of the Martian drainage system; atmospheric dust-water ice Interactions; volatiles and volcanos; accretion of interplanetary dust particles; Mars' ionosphere; simulations with the NASA Ames Mars General Circulation Model; modeling the Martian water cycle; the evolution of Martian atmosphere; isotopic composition; solar occultation; magnetic fields; photochemical weathering; NASA's Mars Surveyor Program; iron formations; measurements of Martian atmospheric water vapor; and the thermal evolution Models of Mars.

  14. Mars Express Scientific Overview After One Martian Year in Orbit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chicarro, A. F.

    2005-12-01

    The ESA Mars Express mission was successfully launched on 02 June 2003 from Baikonur, Kazakh-stan, onboard a Russian Soyuz rocket with a Fregat upper stage. The mission comprises an orbiter space-craft, which has been placed in a polar martian orbit, and the small Beagle-2 lander, due to land in Isidis Planitia but whose fate remains unknown. In addition to global studies of the surface, subsurface and at-mosphere of Mars, with an unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution, the unifying theme of the mis-sion is the search for water in its various states everywhere on the planet. Following the Mars Express spacecraft commissioning in January 2004, most experiments onboard be-gan their own calibration and testing phase already acquiring scientific data. This phase lasted until June 2004 when all the instruments started their routine operations. The MARSIS radar antennas, however, were deployed in May-June 2005, following comprehensive simulations of boom deployment and mitiga-tion of potential risks, to benefit from nightime conditions required for subsurface sounding before the pericentre natural drift in latitude, when illumination conditions become favourable to the other instru-ments. Initial science results are summarised below. The High-Resolution Stereo Colour Imager (HRSC) has shown breathtaking views of the planet, in particular of karstic regions near the Valles Marineris canyon (pointing to liquid water as the erosional agent responsible for modifying tectonic and impact features in the area) and of several large volcanoes (Olympus Mons caldera and glaciation features surrounding Hecates Tholus). The IR Mineralogical Mapping Spectrometer (OMEGA) has provided unprecedented maps of water ice and CO2 ice occurrence in the South pole, showing where the two ices mix and where they do not. The Planetary Fourier Spec-trometer (PFS) has confirmed the presence of methane for the first time, which would indicate current volcanic activity and/or biological

  15. Initiation and growth of martian ice lenses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sizemore, Hanna G.; Zent, Aaron P.; Rempel, Alan W.

    2015-05-01

    Water ice in the upper meters of the martian regolith is a major volatile reservoir. Although the geographic extent, burial depth, and thermal stability of this shallow ice are well understood, its origin, history, and stratigraphy are not. Over the past decade, a growing body of observational evidence has indicated that shallow ground ice exceeds the pore volume of its host soil over large regions of both martian hemispheres. This is confounding, given that (1) the physical theory that accurately predicts the location of ground ice also assumes that ice should be pore-filling in the upper meter of regolith, and (2) the Phoenix spacecraft uncovered far more pore-filling ice than excess ice at its landing site in the northern hemisphere. The development of ice lenses by low-temperature in situ segregation - analogous to the processes that generate frost heave on Earth - has been hypothesized to explain shallow excess ice on Mars. We have developed a numerical model of ice lens initiation and growth in the martian environment, and used it to test this hypothesis for the first time. We carried out a large suite of numerical simulations in order to place quantitative constraints on the timing and location of ice lens initiation, and on the magnitude of ice lens growth in a variety of host soils. We find that ice lens initiation is a ubiquitous process in the martian high latitudes, but the ultimate magnitude of lens growth, or frost heave, is sensitive to the properties of the host soil. Depending on the specific properties of martian soils, in situ segregation may be a very slow process sufficient to explain the excess ice observed in the Dodo-Goldilocks trench at the Phoenix landing site, but without regionally significant effects. Alternatively, if clay-sized particles or perchlorate salts are present, in situ segregation may be a vigorous process that has significantly affected the stratigraphy of ground ice in the upper meter of regolith throughout the high

  16. Preliminary design of a universal Martian lander

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norman, Timothy L.; Gaskin, David E.; Adkins, Sean; Gunawan, Mary; Johnson, Raquel; Macdonnell, David; Parlock, Andrew; Sarick, John; Bodwell, Charles; Hashimoto, Kouichi

    In the next 25 years, mankind will be undertaking yet another giant leap forward in the exploration of the solar system: a manned mission to Mars. This journey will provide important information on the composition and history of both Mars and the Solar System. A manned mission will also provide the opportunity to study how humans can adapt to long term space flight conditions and the Martian environment. As part of the NASA/USRA program, nineteen West Virginia University students conducted a preliminary design of a manned Universal Martian Lander (UML). The UML's design will provide a 'universal' platform, consisting of four modules for living and laboratory experiments and a liquid-fuel propelled Manned Ascent Return Vehicle (MARV). The distinguishing feature of the UML is the 'universal' design of the modules which can be connected to form a network of laboratories and living quarters for future missions thereby reducing development and production costs. The WVU design considers descent to Mars from polar orbit, a six month surface stay, and ascent for rendezvous. The design begins with an unmanned UML landing at Elysium Mons followed by the manned UML landing nearby. During the six month surface stay, the eight modules will be assembled to form a Martian base where scientific experiments will be performed. The mission will also incorporate hydroponic plant growth into a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) for water recycling, food production, and to counteract psychological effects of living on Mars. In situ fuel production for the MARV will be produced from gases in the Martian atmosphere. Following surface operations, the eight member crew will use the MARV to return to the Martian Transfer Vehicle (MTV) for the journey home to Earth.

  17. Characteristics of the Martian atmosphere surface layer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clow, G. D.; Haberle, R. M.

    1990-01-01

    Elements of various terrestrial boundary layer models are extended to Mars in order to estimate sensible heat, latent heat, and momentum fluxes within the Martian atmospheric surface ('constant flux') layer. The atmospheric surface layer consists of an interfacial sublayer immediately adjacent to the ground and an overlying fully turbulent surface sublayer where wind-shear production of turbulence dominates buoyancy production. Within the interfacial sublayer, sensible and latent heat are transported by non-steady molecular diffusion into small-scale eddies which intermittently burst through this zone. Both the thickness of the interfacial sublayer and the characteristics of the turbulent eddies penetrating through it depend on whether airflow is aerodynamically smooth or aerodynamically rough, as determined by the Roughness Reynold's number. Within the overlying surface sublayer, similarity theory can be used to express the mean vertical windspeed, temperature, and water vapor profiles in terms of a single parameter, the Monin-Obukhov stability parameter. To estimate the molecular viscosity and thermal conductivity of a CO2-H2O gas mixture under Martian conditions, parameterizations were developed using data from the TPRC Data Series and the first-order Chapman-Cowling expressions; the required collision integrals were approximated using the Lenard-Jones potential. Parameterizations for specific heat and binary diffusivity were also determined. The Brutsart model for sensible and latent heat transport within the interfacial sublayer for both aerodynamically smooth and rough airflow was experimentally tested under similar conditions, validating its application to Martian conditions. For the surface sublayer, the definition of the Monin-Obukhov length was modified to properly account for the buoyancy forces arising from water vapor gradients in the Martian atmospheric boundary layer. It was found that under most Martian conditions, the interfacial and surface

  18. Preliminary design of a universal Martian lander

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norman, Timothy L.; Gaskin, David E.; Adkins, Sean; Gunawan, Mary; Johnson, Raquel; Macdonnell, David; Parlock, Andrew; Sarick, John; Bodwell, Charles; Hashimoto, Kouichi

    1993-01-01

    In the next 25 years, mankind will be undertaking yet another giant leap forward in the exploration of the solar system: a manned mission to Mars. This journey will provide important information on the composition and history of both Mars and the Solar System. A manned mission will also provide the opportunity to study how humans can adapt to long term space flight conditions and the Martian environment. As part of the NASA/USRA program, nineteen West Virginia University students conducted a preliminary design of a manned Universal Martian Lander (UML). The UML's design will provide a 'universal' platform, consisting of four modules for living and laboratory experiments and a liquid-fuel propelled Manned Ascent Return Vehicle (MARV). The distinguishing feature of the UML is the 'universal' design of the modules which can be connected to form a network of laboratories and living quarters for future missions thereby reducing development and production costs. The WVU design considers descent to Mars from polar orbit, a six month surface stay, and ascent for rendezvous. The design begins with an unmanned UML landing at Elysium Mons followed by the manned UML landing nearby. During the six month surface stay, the eight modules will be assembled to form a Martian base where scientific experiments will be performed. The mission will also incorporate hydroponic plant growth into a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) for water recycling, food production, and to counteract psychological effects of living on Mars. In situ fuel production for the MARV will be produced from gases in the Martian atmosphere. Following surface operations, the eight member crew will use the MARV to return to the Martian Transfer Vehicle (MTV) for the journey home to Earth.

  19. Nature of Reduced Carbon in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; McKay, D. S.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; White, L. M.

    2012-01-01

    Martian meteorites provide important information on the nature of reduced carbon components present on Mars throughout its history. The first in situ analyses for carbon on the surface of Mars by the Viking landers yielded disappointing results. With the recognition of Martian meteorites on Earth, investigations have shown carbon-bearing phases exist on Mars. Studies have yielded presence of reduced carbon, carbonates and inferred graphitic carbon phases. Samples ranging in age from the first approximately 4 Ga of Mars history [e.g. ALH84001] to nakhlites with a crystallization age of 1.3 Ga [e.g. Nakhla] with aqueous alteration processes occurring 0.5-0.7 Ga after crystallizaton. Shergottites demonstrate formation ages around 165-500 Ma with younger aqueous alterations events. Only a limited number of the Martian meteorites do not show evidence of significance terrestrial alterations. Selected areas within ALH84001, Nakhla, Yamato 000593 and possibly Tissint are suitable for study of their indigenous reduced carbon bearing phases. Nakhla possesses discrete, well-defined carbonaceous phases present within iddingsite alteration zones. Based upon both isotopic measurements and analysis of Nakhla's organic phases the presence of pre-terrestrial organics is now recognized. The reduced carbon-bearing phases appear to have been deposited during preterrestrial aqueous alteration events that produced clays. In addition, the microcrystalline layers of Nakhla's iddingsite have discrete units of salt crystals suggestive of evaporation processes. While we can only speculate on the origin of these unique carbonaceous structures, we note that the significance of such observations is that it may allow us to understand the role of Martian carbon as seen in the Martian meteorites with obvious implications for astrobiology and the pre-biotic evolution of Mars. In any case, our observations strongly suggest that reduced organic carbon exists as micrometer- size, discrete structures

  20. High resolution Viking Orbiter images: A useful data source for testing the viability of geomorphic processes attributed to Martian landforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimbelman, James R.

    1987-01-01

    The diversity of landforms visible in the Viking images of Mars have led to a proliforation of geomorphic agents proposed to be active in shaping the Martian surface. While it is likely that numerous different processes have contributed to the geomorphology of Mars throughout Martian history, it is important that proposed Martian geomorphic agents be subjected to critical scrutiny by the scientific community. High resolution Viking Orbiter images represent a data set for investigating geomorphic processes on Mars. Geologic mapping of Mars can take place at a variety of scales, utilizing a variety of image resolutions, but an interpretation of the history of individual landforms is dependent upon the best available spatial resolution. These high resolution images provide the opportunity to examine proposed Martian geomorphic processes. It is clear that researchers may not interpret features in the same way but it is important that high resolution images of candidate features be made available to the scientific community so that a consensus can be reached. This procedure can provide a way to refine the understanding of geomorphic processes on Mars.

  1. The potential of hydrodynamic analysis for the interpretation of Martian fluvial activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jungrack; Schumann, Guy; Neal, Jeffrey; Lin, Shih-Yuan

    2014-05-01

    After liquid water was identified as the agent of ancient Martian fluvial activities, the valley and channels on the Martian surface were investigated by a number of remote sensing and in-situ measurements. In particular, the stereo DTMs and ortho images from various successful orbital sensors are being effectively used to trace the origin and consequences of Martian hydrological channels. For instance, to analyze the Martian fluvial activities more quantitatively using the topographic products, Burr et al. (2003) employed 1D hydrodynamic models such as HEC-RAS together with the topography by MOLA to derive water flow estimates for the Athabasca Valles area on Mars [1]. Where extensive floodplain flows or detailed 2D bathymetry for the river channel exist, it may be more accurate to simulate flows in two dimensions, especially if the direction of flow is unclear a priori. Thus in this study we demonstrated a quantitative modeling method utilizing multi-resolution Martian DTMs, constructed in line with Kim and Muller's (2009) [2] approach, and an advanced hydraulics model LISFLOOD-FP (Bates et al., 2010) [3], which simulates in-channel dynamic wave behavior by solving for 2D shallow water equations without advection. Martian gravitation and manning constants were adjusted in the hydraulic model and the inflow values were iteratively refined from the outputs of the coarser to the finer model. Then we chose the target areas among Martian fluvial geomorphologies and tested the effectiveness of high resolution hydraulic modeling to retrieve the characteristics of fluvial systems. Test sites were established in the Athabasca Valles, Bahram Vallis, and Naktong Vallis respectively. Since those sites are proposed to be originated by different fluvial mechanisms, it is expected that the outputs from hydraulics modeling will provide important clues about the evolution of each fluvial system. Hydraulics modeling in the test areas with terrestrial simulation parameters was also

  2. Chemical Weathering Records of Martian Soils Preserved in the Martian Meteorite EET79001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    2004-01-01

    Impact-melt glasses, rich in Martian atmospheric gases, contain Martian soil fines (MSF) mixed with other coarse-grained regolith fractions which are produced during impact bombardment on Mars surface. An important characteristic of the MSF fraction is the simultaneous enrichment of felsic component accompanied by the depletion of mafic component relative to the host phase in these glasses. In addition, these glasses yield large sulfur abundances due to the occurrence of secondary mineral phases such as sulfates produced during acid-sulfate weathering of the regolith material near the Martian surface. Sulfurous gases released into atmosphere by volcanoes on Mars are oxidized to H2SO4 which deposit back on the surface of Mars as aerosol particles. Depending on the water availability, sulfuric acids dissolve into solutions which aggressively decompose the Fe-Mg silicates in the Martian regolith. During chemical weathering, structural elements such as Fe, Mg and Ca (among others) are released into the transgressing solutions. These solutions leach away the soluble components of Mg, Ca and Na, leaving behind insoluble iron as Fe3(+) hydroxysulfate mixed with poorly crystalline hydroxide- precipitates under oxidizing conditions. In this study, we focus on the elemental distribution of FeO and SO3 in the glass veins of EET79001, 507 sample, determined by Electron Microprobe and FE SEM measurements at JSC. This glass sample is an aliquot of a bigger glass inclusion ,104 analysed by where large concentrations of Martian atmospheric noble gases are found.

  3. The Martian dust cycle: A proposed model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald

    1987-01-01

    Despite more than a decade of study of martian dust storms, many of their characteristics and associated processes remain enigmatic, including the mechanisms for dust raising, modes of settling, and the nature of dust deposits. However, observations of Mars dust, considerations of terrestrial analogs, theoretical models, and laboratory simulations permit the formulation of a Martian Dust Cycle Model, which consists of three main processes: (1) suspension threshold, (2) transportation, and (3) deposition; two associated processes are also included: (4) dust removal and (5) the addition of new dust to the cycle. Although definitions vary, dust includes particles less than 4 to approx. 60 microns in diameter, which by terrestrial usage includes silt, loess, clay, and aerosolic dust particles. The dust cycle model is explained.

  4. Schroeter's ratios for Martian craters - Radar results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roth, L. E.

    1991-01-01

    Schroeter's ratios (ratios of the rim volume to the apparent volume) are determined for a sample of 29 large, degraded Martian craters selected from the Goldstone Mars radar altimetry data. On the average, the values of the calculated Schroeter's ratios are about two orders of magnitude smaller than the same ratios for fresh lunar craters. This indicates a severe rim volume deficit in degraded Martian craters and it provides an additional support to the notion of a widespread resurfacing of intercrater plains on Mars. Schroeter's ratios for degraded craters could provide a semi-quantitative measure of the effects of the modification processes that had been active on Mars and on the other planetary bodies.

  5. Dayside temperatures of the Martian upper atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bittner, Hermann; Fricke, K. H.

    1987-11-01

    One central problem in understanding the Martian upper atmosphere is the poor correlation between exospheric temperatures and the energy input from the Sun in the EUV and UV. Turbulence heats the atmosphere by dissipation of turbulent energy and cools it by downward heat transport. A time-variable turbulence may introduce a stochastic component in addition to the solar-driven, regular variation of the exospheric temperatures. To investigate the possible range of temperatures on the basis of this assumption, the authors develop a one-dimensional mean-dayside model of the energy balance of the Martian upper atmosphere. With plausible assumptions on the range of the eddy diffusion coefficient, they find a stochastic component of ±63K for the exospheric temperatures. The comparison of observed data with the results of their model yields a best value for the efficiency of the heating by absorption of solar ultraviolet radiation of 0.145±0.05.

  6. Overview of the Martian radiation environment experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zeitlin, C.; Cleghorn, T.; Cucinotta, F.; Saganti, P.; Andersen, V.; Lee, K.; Pinsky, L.; Atwell, W.; Turner, R.; Badhwar, G.

    2004-01-01

    Space radiation presents a hazard to astronauts, particularly those journeying outside the protective influence of the geomagnetosphere. Crews on future missions to Mars will be exposed to the harsh radiation environment of deep space during the transit between Earth and Mars. Once on Mars, they will encounter radiation that is only slightly reduced, compared to free space, by the thin Martian atmosphere. NASA is obliged to minimize, where possible, the radiation exposures received by astronauts. Thus, as a precursor to eventual human exploration, it is necessary to measure the Martian radiation environment in detail. The MARIE experiment, aboard the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, is returning the first data that bear directly on this problem. Here we provide an overview of the experiment, including introductory material on space radiation and radiation dosimetry, a description of the detector, model predictions of the radiation environment at Mars, and preliminary dose-rate data obtained at Mars. c2003 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Nuclear rocket using indigenous Martian fuel NIMF

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zubrin, Robert

    1991-01-01

    In the 1960's, Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) engines were developed and ground tested capable of yielding isp of up to 900 s at thrusts up to 250 klb. Numerous trade studies have shown that such traditional hydrogen fueled NTR engines can reduce the inertial mass low earth orbit (IMLEO) of lunar missions by 35 percent and Mars missions by 50 to 65 percent. The same personnel and facilities used to revive the hydrogen NTR can also be used to develop NTR engines capable of using indigenous Martian volatiles as propellant. By putting this capacity of the NTR to work in a Mars descent/acent vehicle, the Nuclear rocket using Indigenous Martian Fuel (NIMF) can greatly reduce the IMLEO of a manned Mars mission, while giving the mission unlimited planetwide mobility.

  8. The economics of mining the Martian moons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leonard, Raymond S.; Blacic, James D.; Vaniman, David T.

    1987-01-01

    The costs for extracting and shipping volatiles such as water, carbon, and nitrogen that might be found on Phobos and Deimos are estimated. The costs are compared to the cost of shipping the same volatiles from earth, assuming the use of nuclear powered mining facilities and freighters. Mineral resources and possible products from the Martian moons, possible markets for these products, and the costs of transporting these resources to LEO or GEO or to transportation nodal points are examined. Most of the technology needed to mine the moons has already been developed. The need for extraterrestrial sources of propellants for ion propulsion systems and ways in which the mining of the moons would reduce the cost of space operations near earth are discussed. It is concluded that it would be commercially viable to mine the Martian moons, making a profit of at least a 10 percent return on capital.

  9. CO2 Impacts on the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelley, Michael; Bauer, James; Bodewits, Dennis; Farnham, Tony; Stevenson, Rachel; Yelle, Roger

    2014-09-01

    The dynamically new comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass Mars at the extremely close distance of 140,000 km on 2014 Oct 19. This encounter is unique---a record close approach to a planet with spacecraft that can observe its passage---and currently, all 5 Mars orbiters have plans to observe the comet and/or its effects on the planet. Gas from the comet's coma is expected to collide with the Martian atmosphere, altering the abundances of some species and producing significant heating, inflating the upper atmosphere. We propose DDT observations with Spitzer/IRAC to measure the comet's CO2+CO coma (observing window Oct 30 - Nov 20), to use these measurements to derive the coma's CO2 density at Mars during the closest approach, and to aid the interpretation of any observed effects or changes in the Martian atmosphere.

  10. Overview of the Martian radiation environment experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Zeitlin, C.; Cleghorn, T.F.; Cucinotta, F.A.; Saganti, P.; Andersen, V.; Lee, K.T.; Pinsky, L.S.; Atwell, W.; Turner, R.; Badhwar, G.

    2004-12-01

    Space radiation presents a hazard to astronauts, particularly those journeying outside the protective influence of the geomagnetosphere. Crews on future missions to Mars will be exposed to the harsh radiation environment of deep space during the transit between Earth and Mars. Once on Mars, they will encounter radiation that is only slightly reduced, compared to free space, by the thin Martian atmosphere. NASA is obliged to minimize, where possible, the radiation exposures received by astronauts. Thus, as a precursor to eventual human exploration, it is necessary to measure the Martian radiation environment in detail. The MARIE experiment, aboard the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, is returning the first data that bear directly on this problem. Here we provide an overview of the experiment, including introductory material on space radiation and radiation dosimetry, a description of the detector, model predictions of the radiation environment at Mars, and preliminary dose-rate data obtained at Mars.

  11. Martian lake basins and lacustrine plains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Hon, R. A.

    1992-02-01

    A classification of Martian lake basins based on the location of the basin in respect to water sources is proposed. The classes are type 1: valley-head basins; type 2: intravalley basins; type 3: valley-terminal basins; and type 4: isolated basins. Martian lakes are ephemeral features. Many craters and irregular depressions impounded water only until the basins filled and overflowed. Water escaping by spillover rapidly cut crevasses in the downstream side of basins and drained the ponds. Clastic lacustrine sediments collected in the lakes as flowing water lost velocity and turbulence. Evaporitic deposits may be significant in those basins that were not rapidly drained. Sediments deposited in lake basins form smooth, featureless plains. Lacustrine plains are potentially candidate sites for Mars landings and for the search for evidence of ancient life.

  12. Martian Dust Collected by Phoenix's Arm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image from NASA's Phoenix Lander's Optical Microscope shows particles of Martian dust lying on the microscope's silicon substrate. The Robotic Arm sprinkled a sample of the soil from the Snow White trench onto the microscope on July 2, 2008, the 38th Martian day, or sol, of the mission after landing.

    Subsequently, the Atomic Force Microscope, or AFM, zoomed in one of the fine particles, creating the first-ever image of a particle of Mars' ubiquitous fine dust, the most highly magnified image ever seen from another world.

    The Atomic Force Microscope was developed by a Swiss-led consortium in collaboration with Imperial College London. The AFM is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer instrument.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  13. Dust transport into Martian polar latitudes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murphy, J. R.; Pollack, J. B.

    1992-01-01

    The presence of suspended dust in the Martian atmosphere, and its return to the planet's surface, is implicated in the formation of the polar layered terrain and the dichotomy in perennial CO2 polar cap retention in the two hemispheres. A three dimensional model was used to study Martian global dust storms. The model accounts for the interactive feedbacks between the atmospheric thermal and dynamical states and an evolving radiatively active suspended dust load. Results from dust storm experiments, as well as from simulations in which there is interest in identifying the conditions under which surface dust lifting occurs at various locations and times, indicate that dust transport due to atmospheric eddy motions is likely to be important in the arrival of suspended dust at polar latitudes. The layered terrain in both polar regions of Mars is interpreted as the reality of cyclical episodes of volatile (CO2, H2O) and dust deposition.

  14. Overview of the Martian radiation environment experiment.

    PubMed

    Zeitlin, C; Cleghorn, T; Cucinotta, F; Saganti, P; Andersen, V; Lee, K; Pinsky, L; Atwell, W; Turner, R; Badhwar, G

    2004-01-01

    Space radiation presents a hazard to astronauts, particularly those journeying outside the protective influence of the geomagnetosphere. Crews on future missions to Mars will be exposed to the harsh radiation environment of deep space during the transit between Earth and Mars. Once on Mars, they will encounter radiation that is only slightly reduced, compared to free space, by the thin Martian atmosphere. NASA is obliged to minimize, where possible, the radiation exposures received by astronauts. Thus, as a precursor to eventual human exploration, it is necessary to measure the Martian radiation environment in detail. The MARIE experiment, aboard the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, is returning the first data that bear directly on this problem. Here we provide an overview of the experiment, including introductory material on space radiation and radiation dosimetry, a description of the detector, model predictions of the radiation environment at Mars, and preliminary dose-rate data obtained at Mars. PMID:15791732

  15. Ice sculpture in the Martian outflow channels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lucchitta, B. K.

    1982-01-01

    Viking Orbiter and terrestrial satellite images are examined at similar resolution to compare features of the Martian outflow channels with features produced by the movement of ice on earth, and many resemblances are found. These include the anastomoses, sinuosities, and U-shaped cross profiles of valleys; hanging valleys; linear scour marks on valley walls; grooves and ridges on valley floors; and the streamlining of bedrock highs. Attention is given to the question whether ice could have moved in the Martian environment. It is envisaged that springs or small catastrophic outbursts discharged fluids from structural outlets or chaotic terrains. These fluids built icings that may have grown into substantial masses and eventually flowed like glaciers down preexisting valleys. An alternative is that the fluids formed rivers or floods that in turn formed ice jams and consolidated into icy masses in places where obstacles blocked their flow.

  16. Biogenic Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; Bazylinski, Dennis; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Bell, Mary Sue; Golden, D. C.

    1999-01-01

    Fine-grained magnetite (Fe3O4) in martian meteorite ALH84001, generally less than 200 microns in size, is located primarily in the rims that surround the carbonate globules. There are two populations of ALH84001 magnets, which are likely formed at low temperature by inorganic and biogenic processes. Nearly 27/o of ALH84001 magnetite particles. also called elongated prisms, have characteristics which make them uniquely identifiable as biological precipitates.

  17. Biogenic Magnetite in Martian Meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Bazylinski, Dennis; Wentworth, Susan J.; McKay, David S.; Kirschvink, Joseph L.; Clemett, SImon J.; Bell, Mary Sue; Golden, D. C.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Fine-grained magnetite (Fe3O4) in martian meteorite ALH84001, generally less than 200 nm in size, is located primarily in the rims that surround the carbonate globules. There are two populations of ALH84001 magnetites, which are likely formed at low temperature by inorganic and biogenic processes. Nearly 27% of ALH84001 magnetite particles, also called elongated prisms, have characteristics which make them uniquely identifiable as biological precipitates. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. Scaling relations for large Martian valleys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Som, Sanjoy M.; Montgomery, David R.; Greenberg, Harvey M.

    2009-02-01

    The dendritic morphology of Martian valley networks, particularly in the Noachian highlands, has long been argued to imply a warmer, wetter early Martian climate, but the character and extent of this period remains controversial. We analyzed scaling relations for the 10 large valley systems incised in terrain of various ages, resolvable using the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). Four of the valleys originate in point sources with negligible contributions from tributaries, three are very poorly dissected with a few large tributaries separated by long uninterrupted trunks, and three exhibit the dendritic, branching morphology typical of terrestrial channel networks. We generated width-area and slope-area relationships for each because these relations are identified as either theoretically predicted or robust terrestrial empiricisms for graded precipitation-fed, perennial channels. We also generated distance-area relationships (Hack's law) because they similarly represent robust characteristics of terrestrial channels (whether perennial or ephemeral). We find that the studied Martian valleys, even the dendritic ones, do not satisfy those empiricisms. On Mars, the width-area scaling exponent b of -0.7-4.7 contrasts with values of 0.3-0.6 typical of terrestrial channels; the slope-area scaling exponent $\\theta$ ranges from -25.6-5.5, whereas values of 0.3-0.5 are typical on Earth; the length-area, or Hack's exponent n ranges from 0.47 to 19.2, while values of 0.5-0.6 are found on Earth. None of the valleys analyzed satisfy all three relations typical of terrestrial perennial channels. As such, our analysis supports the hypotheses that ephemeral and/or immature channel morphologies provide the closest terrestrial analogs to the dendritic networks on Mars, and point source discharges provide terrestrial analogs best suited to describe the other large Martian valleys.

  19. MetNet - Martian Network Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harri, A.-M.

    2009-04-01

    We are developing a new kind of planetary exploration mission for Mars - MetNet in situ observation network based on a new semi-hard landing vehicle called the Met-Net Lander (MNL). The actual practical mission development work started in January 2009 with participation from various countries and space agencies. The scientific rationale and goals as well as key mission solutions will be discussed. The eventual scope of the MetNet Mission is to deploy some 20 MNLs on the Martian surface using inflatable descent system structures, which will be supported by observations from the orbit around Mars. Currently we are working on the MetNet Mars Precursor Mission (MMPM) to deploy one MetNet Lander to Mars in the 2009/2011 launch window as a technology and science demonstration mission. The MNL will have a versatile science payload focused on the atmospheric science of Mars. Detailed characterization of the Martian atmospheric circulation patterns, boundary layer phenomena, and climatology cycles, require simultaneous in-situ measurements by a network of observation posts on the Martian surface. The scientific payload of the MetNet Mission encompasses separate instrument packages for the atmospheric entry and descent phase and for the surface operation phase. The MetNet mission concept and key probe technologies have been developed and the critical subsystems have been qualified to meet the Martian environmental and functional conditions. This development effort has been fulfilled in collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Russian Lavoschkin Association (LA) and the Russian Space Research Institute (IKI) since August 2001. Currently the INTA (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial) from Spain is also participating in the MetNet payload development.

  20. Modelling the martian cosmic radiation environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dartnell, L. R.; Desorgher, L.; Ward, J. M.; Coates, A. J.

    2013-09-01

    The martian surface is no longer protected by a global magnetic field or substantial atmosphere and so is essentially unshielded to the flux of cosmic rays. This creates an ionising radiation field on the surface and subsurface that is hazardous to life and the operation of spacecraft instruments. Here we report the modelling approach used to characterise this complex and time-variable radiation environment and discuss the wider applications of the results generated.

  1. Permeability Barrier Generation in the Martian Lithosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schools, Joe; Montési, Laurent

    2015-11-01

    Permeability barriers develop when a magma produced in the interior of a planet rises into the cooler lithosphere and crystallizes more rapidly than the lithosphere can deform (Sparks and Parmentier, 1991). Crystallization products may then clog the porous network in which melt is propagating, reducing the permeability to almost zero, i.e., forming a permeability barrier. Subsequent melts cannot cross the barrier. Permeability barriers have been useful to explain variations in crustal thickness at mid-ocean ridges on Earth (Magde et al., 1997; Hebert and Montési, 2011; Montési et al., 2011). We explore here under what conditions permeability barriers may form on Mars.We use the MELTS thermodynamic calculator (Ghiorso and Sack, 1995; Ghiorso et al., 2002; Asimow et al., 2004) in conjunction with estimated Martian mantle compositions (Morgan and Anders, 1979; Wänke and Dreibus, 1994; Lodders and Fegley, 1997; Sanloup et al., 1999; Taylor 2013) to model the formation of permeability barriers in the lithosphere of Mars. In order to represent potential past and present conditions of Mars, we vary the lithospheric thickness, mantle potential temperature (heat flux), oxygen fugacity, and water content.Our results show that permeability layers can develop in the thermal boundary layer of the simulated Martian lithosphere if the mantle potential temperature is higher than ~1500°C. The various Martian mantle compositions yield barriers in the same locations, under matching variable conditions. There is no significant difference in barrier location over the range of accepted Martian oxygen fugacity values. Water content is the most significant influence on barrier development as it reduces the temperature of crystallization, allowing melt to rise further into the lithosphere. Our lower temperature and thicker lithosphere model runs, which are likely the most similar to modern Mars, show no permeability barrier generation. Losing the possibility of having a permeability

  2. A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts.

    PubMed

    Steele, A; McCubbin, F M; Fries, M; Kater, L; Boctor, N Z; Fogel, M L; Conrad, P G; Glamoclija, M; Spencer, M; Morrow, A L; Hammond, M R; Zare, R N; Vicenzi, E P; Siljeström, S; Bowden, R; Herd, C D K; Mysen, B O; Shirey, S B; Amundsen, H E F; Treiman, A H; Bullock, E S; Jull, A J T

    2012-07-13

    The source and nature of carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense speculation. We report the results of confocal Raman imaging spectroscopy on 11 martian meteorites, spanning about 4.2 billion years of martian history. Ten of the meteorites contain abiotic macromolecular carbon (MMC) phases detected in association with small oxide grains included within high-temperature minerals. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were detected along with MMC phases in Dar al Gani 476. The association of organic carbon within magmatic minerals indicates that martian magmas favored precipitation of reduced carbon species during crystallization. The ubiquitous distribution of abiotic organic carbon in martian igneous rocks is important for understanding the martian carbon cycle and has implications for future missions to detect possible past martian life. PMID:22628557

  3. Martian Atmospheric Pressure Static Charge Elimination Tool

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johansen, Michael R.

    2014-01-01

    A Martian pressure static charge elimination tool is currently in development in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory (ESPL) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. In standard Earth atmosphere conditions, static charge can be neutralized from an insulating surface using air ionizers. These air ionizers generate ions through corona breakdown. The Martian atmosphere is 7 Torr of mostly carbon dioxide, which makes it inherently difficult to use similar methods as those used for standard atmosphere static elimination tools. An initial prototype has been developed to show feasibility of static charge elimination at low pressure, using corona discharge. A needle point and thin wire loop are used as the corona generating electrodes. A photo of the test apparatus is shown below. Positive and negative high voltage pulses are sent to the needle point. This creates positive and negative ions that can be used for static charge neutralization. In a preliminary test, a floating metal plate was charged to approximately 600 volts under Martian atmospheric conditions. The static elimination tool was enabled and the voltage on the metal plate dropped rapidly to -100 volts. This test data is displayed below. Optimization is necessary to improve the electrostatic balance of the static elimination tool.

  4. Launch of martian meteorites in oblique impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Artemieva, Natalia; Ivanov, Boris

    2004-09-01

    A high-velocity oblique impact into the martian surface accelerates solid target material to escape velocity. A fraction of that material eventually falls as meteorites on Earth. For a long time they were called the SNC meteorites (Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny). We study production of potential martian meteorites numerically within the frame of 3D hydrodynamic modeling. The ratio of the volume of escaping solid ejecta to projectile volume depends on the impact angle, impact velocity and the volatile content in the projectile and in the target. The size distribution of ejected fragments appears to be of crucial importance for the atmosphere-ejecta interaction in the case of a relatively small impact (with final crater size <3 km): 10-cm-sized particles are decelerated efficiently, while 30-50% of larger fragments could escape Mars. The results of numerical modeling are compared with shock metamorphic features in martian meteorites, their burial depth, and preatmospheric mass. Although it is impossible to accelerate ejected fragments to escape velocity without substantial compression (above 10 GPa), the maximum temperature increase in dunite (Chassigny) or ortopyroxenite (ALH84001) may be lower than 200 degree. This result is consistent with the observed chaotic magnetization of ALH84001. The probability of microbes' survival may be rather high even for the extreme conditions during the ejection process.

  5. Photochemical instability of the ancient Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zahnle, Kevin; Haberle, Robert M.; Catling, David C.; Kasting, James F.

    2008-11-01

    We develop a 1-D steady state photochemical model of the modern Martian atmosphere and apply it to possible Martian atmospheres present and past. A unique feature of our model is that the major current sink of oxygen is dry deposition (surface reactions) of highly reactive, oxidized molecules (chiefly H2O2), rather than oxygen escape to space. Another difference is that we allow hydrogen to escape to space at the diffusion limit, which gives H escape fluxes ~70% higher than in other models. What results is a model with one free parameter: a dry deposition velocity to describe the surface sink of reactive molecules. An effective global average deposition velocity of 0.02 cm s-1 for H2O2 and O3 gives a good match to the observed abundances of O2, CO, and H2, the three abundant photochemical trace gases. We then apply our model to Martian atmospheres with different amounts of CO2, H2O, and solar forcing. We find that thick, cold, dry CO2 atmospheres are photochemically unstable with respect to conversion to CO. This may be pertinent to ancient Mars when the Sun was faint and O escape rates were likely high, for which the tipping point is computed to be ~10 mbar of CO2. The possible photochemical instability of cold thick CO2 atmospheres, and the high likelihood that CO was abundant even if CO2 were stable, has broad implications for early Mars.

  6. Unusual Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas

    SciTech Connect

    Danielson, L.; Righter, K.; Pando, K.; Morris, R.V.; Graff, T.; Agresti, D.; Martin, A.; Sutton, S.; Newville, M.; Lanzirotti, A.

    2012-03-26

    Martian magmas are known to be FeO-rich and the dominant FeO-bearing mineral at many sites visited by the Mars Exploration rovers (MER) is magnetite. Morris et al. proposed that the magnetite appears to be igneous in origin, rather than of secondary origin. However, magnetite is not typically found in experimental studies of martian magmatic rocks. Magnetite stability in terrestrial magmas is well understood, as are the stabilities of FeO and Fe{sub 2}O{sub 3} in terrestrial magmas. In order to better understand the variation of FeO and Fe{sub 2}O{sub 3}, and the stability of magnetite (and other FeO-bearing phases) in martian magmas, we have undertaken an experimental study with two emphases. First, we determine the FeO and Fe{sub 2}O{sub 3} contents of super- and sub-liquidus glasses from a shergottite bulk composition at 1 bar to 4 GPa, and variable fO{sub 2}. Second, we document the stability of magnetite with temperature and fO{sub 2} in a shergottite bulk composition.

  7. A Mobility Concept for Martian Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Costes, Nicholas; Sture, Stein

    1998-01-01

    Soil mechanics and geological investigations on Mars or on the Moon are described herein, using a novel mobility system, designated as the "Elastic Loop Mobility System (ELMS)". ELMS was developed as a spin-off of the U. S. Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) which operated on the Moon during the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 Missions. Extensive testing of the ELMS, both on soft soil and on rigid obstacles, has shown that the ELMS outperforms by far both the LRV and the two manned, self-propelled Soviet rovers, Lunokhod 1 and 2, which landed on the Moon in the western part of Mare Imbrium, aboard the spacecraft Luna 17 and 21. In this paper, examples of soil mechanics and geological investigations that can be conducted either by an unmanned, self-propelled ELMS rover, or by an ELMS attached to a Martian Lander are discussed, along with the associated instrumentation. Through such investigations, ascertaining the existence of some primitive forms of past or present life on Martian or Lunar geological formations may become possible, in addition to obtaining numerous data on the mechanical and physico-chemical properties of Martian or Lunar soils along long traverses.

  8. Terrestrial Analog Studies for Martian Patterned Ground

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rossbacher, L. A.

    1985-01-01

    A recurring problem in understanding Martian patterned ground is explaining its large size. Terrestrial patterned ground in Swedish Lapland offers an analog that may help explain this. In cold, arid regions with strong winds, polygonal features are accentuated paralled to the dominant wind direction. Preliminary results of a comparison between Martian polygonal troughs and dominant wind directions suggests a good correlation. This evolutionary model involving aeolian modification of Martian polygonal ground helps explain the large size features without requiring multiple, deep freeze-thaw cycles. A well-established geographical technique, nearest neighbor analysis, can be modified and applied to the distribution of patterned ground on Earth and Mars. The procedure determines the R-statistic, which reflects the degree to which on observation departs from an expected random pattern. The R-statistic is independent of scale, and therefore it can be applied to any size of type of pattern. Preliminary results indicate that there may be a correlation between the R-statistic and the process that create the polygons.

  9. Where to search for martian biota?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tasch, Paul

    1997-07-01

    Martian Salt. Terrestrial halite containing negative crystals which entrapped drops of viscous fluid yielded viable bacteria. The fluid has a Br/Mg ratio which chemist W.T. Holser characterized as a `Permian bittern.' All relevant salt on Mars should be inspected for negative crystals and possible ancient bacterial tenants. Martian Water. Moist soil in the regolith, cooled hydrothermal fluids, sediments of recurrent oceanic water, and related to inferred strand lines, even limited water in future SNC-type meteorites, upper atmosphere liquid water or water vapor, and North Polar liquid water or ice--all liquid water in any form, wherever, should be collected for microbiological analysis. Vent Fauna. Living or fossil thermophiles as trace fossils, or fauna metallicized in relation to sulphide ores. Iron Bacteria. Limonitized magnetite ore (USSR) in thin section showed structures attributed to iron bacteria. Biogenic magnetite, produced by both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and its significance. Carbonaceous chondrites (non martian) (Ivuna and Orgueil) yielded apparent life forms that could not be attributed to contamination during the given study. Are they extraterrestrial?

  10. Ice Clouds in Martian Arctic (Accelerated Movie)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    Clouds scoot across the Martian sky in a movie clip consisting of 10 frames taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

    This clip accelerates the motion. The camera took these 10 frames over a 10-minute period from 2:52 p.m. to 3:02 p.m. local solar time at the Phoenix site during Sol 94 (Aug. 29), the 94th Martian day since landing.

    Particles of water-ice make up these clouds, like ice-crystal cirrus clouds on Earth. Ice hazes have been common at the Phoenix site in recent days.

    The camera took these images as part of a campaign by the Phoenix team to see clouds and track winds. The view is toward slightly west of due south, so the clouds are moving westward or west-northwestward.

    The clouds are a dramatic visualization of the Martian water cycle. The water vapor comes off the north pole during the peak of summer. The northern-Mars summer has just passed its peak water-vapor abundance at the Phoenix site. The atmospheric water is available to form into clouds, fog and frost, such as the lander has been observing recently.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  11. Periglacial and glacial analogs for Martian landforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rossbacher, Lisa A.

    1992-01-01

    The list of useful terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms has been expanded to include: features developed by desiccation processes; catastrophic flood features associated with boulder-sized materials; and sorted ground developed at a density boundary. Quantitative analytical techniques developed for physical geography have been adapted and applied to planetary studies, including: quantification of the patterns of polygonally fractured ground to describe pattern randomness independent of pattern size, with possible correlation to the mechanism of origin and quantification of the relative area of a geomorphic feature or region in comparison to planetary scale. Information about Martian geomorphology studied in this project was presented at professional meetings world-wide, at seven colleges and universities, in two interactive televised courses, and as part of two books. Overall, this project has expanded the understanding of the range of terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms, including identifying several new analogs. The processes that created these terrestrial features are characterized by both cold temperatures and low humidity, and therefore both freeze-thaw and desiccation processes are important. All these results support the conclusion that water has played a significant role in the geomorphic history of Mars.

  12. Opportunity's Second Martian Birthday at Cape Verde

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    A promontory nicknamed 'Cape Verde' can be seen jutting out from the walls of Victoria Crater in this approximate true-color picture taken by the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The rover took this picture on martian day, or sol, 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007), more than a month after it began descending down the crater walls -- and just 9 sols shy of its second Martian birthday on sol 1338 (Oct. 29, 2007). Opportunity landed on the Red Planet on Jan. 25, 2004. That's nearly four years ago on Earth, but only two on Mars because Mars takes longer to travel around the sun than Earth. One Martian year equals 687 Earth days.

    The overall soft quality of the image, and the 'haze' seen in the lower right portion, are the result of scattered light from dust on the front sapphire window of the rover's camera.

    This view was taken using three panoramic-camera filters, admitting light with wavelengths centered at 750 nanometers (near infrared), 530 nanometers (green) and 430 nanometers (violet).

  13. Periglacial and glacial analogs for Martian landforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossbacher, Lisa A.

    1992-12-01

    The list of useful terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms has been expanded to include: features developed by desiccation processes; catastrophic flood features associated with boulder-sized materials; and sorted ground developed at a density boundary. Quantitative analytical techniques developed for physical geography have been adapted and applied to planetary studies, including: quantification of the patterns of polygonally fractured ground to describe pattern randomness independent of pattern size, with possible correlation to the mechanism of origin and quantification of the relative area of a geomorphic feature or region in comparison to planetary scale. Information about Martian geomorphology studied in this project was presented at professional meetings world-wide, at seven colleges and universities, in two interactive televised courses, and as part of two books. Overall, this project has expanded the understanding of the range of terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms, including identifying several new analogs. The processes that created these terrestrial features are characterized by both cold temperatures and low humidity, and therefore both freeze-thaw and desiccation processes are important. All these results support the conclusion that water has played a significant role in the geomorphic history of Mars.

  14. The Martian Soil: A Planetary Gas Pump

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Beule, Caroline; Wurm, G.; Thorben, K.; Küpper, M.; Jankowski, T.; Teiser, J.

    2013-10-01

    The transport of gas through the Martian soil plays an important role in processes like the global cycle of water. Until now, in the absence of an active pumping system, diffusion was assumed to be the most efficient transport mechanism. Here, we present a new mechanism of forced convection within porous soils, which occurs naturally on Mars. In the low pressure environment of Mars, thermal creep within the insolated surface can act as an efficient pump in the porous soil. The pores of the dust act as micro-channels, where the gas flows from the cold to the warm side. We proved this concept in drop tower experiments. In microgravity thermal convection is absent and only thermal creep is visible. By illuminating a basaltic dust bed in microgravity, it was possible to trace the gas flow by embedded particles, moving towards the dust bed within shadowed regions with inflow velocities on the order of cm/s. These observations are consistent with a model of forced flow through the porous medium. Scaled to Martian conditions the experiments show that this transport mechanism can be very efficient and atmospheric gas can be pumped into the soil in shadowed parts and be transported underground to insolated places. This natural planet wide pump is unique in the Solar System as only the Martian surface conditions (mbar pressure) are suitable for this effect.

  15. Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Righter, K.; Danielson, L.; Martin, A.; Pando, K.; Sutton, S.; Newville, M.

    2011-01-01

    Martian magmas are known to be FeO-rich and the dominant FeO-bearing mineral at many sites visited by the Mars Exploration rovers (MER) is magnetite [1]. Morris et al. [1] propose that the magnetite appears to be igneous in origin, rather than of secondary origin. However, magnetite is not typically found in experimental studies of martian magmatic rocks [2,3]. Magnetite stability in terrestrial magmas is well understood, as are the stability of FeO and Fe2O3 in terrestrial magmas [4,5]. In order to better understand the variation of FeO and Fe2O3, and the stability of magnetite (and other FeO-bearing phases) in martian magmas we have undertaken an experimental study with two emphases. First we document the stability of magnetite with temperature and fO2 in a shergottite bulk composition. Second, we determine the FeO and Fe2O3 contents of the same shergottite bulk composition at 1 bar and variable fO2 at 1250 C, and at variable pressure. These two goals will help define not only magnetite stability, but pyroxene-melt equilibria that are also dependent upon fO2.

  16. Unusual Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Danielson, L.; Righter, K.; Pando, K.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T.; Agresti, D.; Martin, A.; Sutton, S.; Newville, M.; Lanzirotti, A.

    2012-01-01

    Martian magmas are known to be FeO-rich and the dominant FeO-bearing mineral at many sites visited by the Mars Exploration rovers (MER) is magnetite. Morris et al. proposed that the magnetite appears to be igneous in origin, rather than of secondary origin. However, magnetite is not typically found in experimental studies of martian magmatic rocks. Magnetite stability in terrestrial magmas is well understood, as are the stabilities of FeO and Fe2O3 in terrestrial magmas. In order to better understand the variation of FeO and Fe2O3, and the stability of magnetite (and other FeO-bearing phases) in martian magmas, we have undertaken an experimental study with two emphases. First, we determine the FeO and Fe2O3 contents of super- and sub-liquidus glasses from a shergottite bulk composition at 1 bar to 4 GPa, and variable fO2. Second, we document the stability of magnetite with temperature and fO2 in a shergottite bulk composition.

  17. Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Majid, W.

    2015-12-01

    Dust storms on Mars are predicted to be capable of producing electrostatic fields and discharges, even larger than those in dust storms on Earth. Such electrical activity poses serious risks to any Human exploration of the planet and the lack of sufficient data to characterize any such activity has been identified by NASA's MEPAG as a key human safety knowledge gap. There are three key elements in the characterization of Martian electrostatic discharges: dependence on Martian environmental conditions, frequency of occurrence, and the strength of the generated electric fields. We will describe a proposed program using NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to carry out a long term monitoring campaign to search for and characterize the entire Mars hemisphere for powerful discharges during routine tracking of spacecraft at Mars on an entirely non-interfering basis. The resulting knowledge of Mars electrical activity would allow NASA to plan risk mitigation measures to ensure human safety during Mars exploration. In addition, these measurements will also allow us to place limits on presence of oxidants such as H2O2 that may be produced by such discharges, providing another measurement point for models describing Martian atmospheric chemistry and habitability. Because of the continuous Mars telecommunication needs of NASA's Mars-based assets, the DSN is the only instrument in the world that combines long term, high cadence, observing opportunities with large sensitive telescopes, making it a unique asset worldwide in searching for and characterizing electrostatic activity at Mars from the ground.

  18. The Germanium Dichotomy in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Humayun, M.; Yang, S.; Righter, K.; Zanda, B.; Hewins, R. H.

    2016-01-01

    Germanium is a moderately volatile and siderophile element that follows silicon in its compatibility during partial melting of planetary mantles. Despite its obvious usefulness in planetary geochemistry germanium is not analyzed routinely, with there being only three prior studies reporting germanium abundances in Martian meteorites. The broad range (1-3 ppm) observed in Martian igneous rocks is in stark contrast to the narrow range of germanium observed in terrestrial basalts (1.5 plus or minus 0.1 ppm). The germanium data from these studies indicates that nakhlites contain 2-3 ppm germanium, while shergottites contain approximately 1 ppm germanium, a dichotomy with important implications for core formation models. There have been no reliable germanium abundances on chassignites. The ancient meteoritic breccia, NWA 7533 (and paired meteorites) contains numerous clasts, some pristine and some impact melt rocks, that are being studied individually. Because germanium is depleted in the Martian crust relative to chondritic impactors, it has proven useful as an indicator of meteoritic contamination of impact melt clasts in NWA 7533. The germanium/silicon ratio can be applied to minerals that might not partition nickel and iridium, like feldspars. We report germanium in minerals from the 3 known chassignites, 2 nakhlites and 5 shergottites by LAICP- MS using a method optimized for precise germanium analysis.

  19. Martian regolith as space radiation shielding.

    PubMed

    Simonsen, L C; Nealy, J E; Townsend, L W; Wilson, J W

    1991-01-01

    In current Mars scenario descriptions, an entire mission is estimated to take 500-1000 days round trip with a 100-600 day stay time on the surface. To maintain radiation dose levels below permissible limits, dose estimates must be determined for the entire mission length. With extended crew durations anticipated on Mars, the characterization of the radiation environment on the surface becomes a critical aspect of mission planning. The most harmful free-space radiation is due to high energy galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar flare protons. The carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars has been estimated to provide a sufficient amount of shielding from these radiative fluxes to help maintain incurred doses below permissible limits. However, Mars exploration crews are likely to incur a substantial dose while in transit to Mars that will reduce the allowable dose that can be received while on the surface. Therefore, additional shielding may be necessary to maintain short-term dose levels below limits or to help maintain career dose levels as low as possible. By utilizing local resources, such as Martian regolith, shielding materials can be provided without excessive launch weight requirements from Earth. The scope of this synopsis and of Ref. 3 focuses on presenting our estimates of surface radiation doses received due to the transport and attenuation of galactic cosmic rays and February 1956 solar flare protons through the Martian atmosphere and through additional shielding provided by Martian regolith. PMID:11537624

  20. Neutron environments on the Martian surface.

    PubMed

    Clowdsley, M S; Wilson, J W; Kim, M H; Singleterry, R C; Tripathi, R K; Heinbockel, J H; Badavi, F F; Shinn, J L

    2001-01-01

    Radiation is a primary concern in the planning of a manned mission to Mars. Recent studies using NASA Langley Research Center's HZETRN space radiation transport code show that the low energy neutron fluence on the Martian surface is larger than previously expected. The upper atmosphere of Mars is exposed to a background radiation field made up of a large number of protons during a solar particle event and mixture of light and heavy ions caused by galactic cosmic rays at other times. In either case, these charged ions interact with the carbon and oxygen atoms of the Martian atmosphere through ionization and nuclear collisions producing secondary ions and neutrons which then interact with the atmospheric atoms in a similar manner. In the past, only these downward moving particles have been counted in evaluating the neutron energy spectrum on the surface. Recent enhancements in the HZETRN code allow for the additional evaluation of those neutrons created within the Martian regolith through the same types of nuclear reactions, which rise to the surface. New calculations using this improved HZETRN code show that these upward moving neutrons contribute significantly to the overall neutron spectrum for energies less than 10 MeV. PMID:11770546

  1. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Martian Meteorites: Chemical Weathering

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Martian Meteorites: Chemical Weathering" included the following reports:Chemical Weathering Records of Martian Soils Preserved in the Martian Meteorite EET79001; Synchrotron X-Ray Diffraction Analysis of Meteorites in Thin Section: Preliminary Results; A Survey of Olivine Alteration Products Using Raman Spectroscopy; and Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd Isotope Systematics of Shergottite NWA 856: Crystallization Age and Implications for Alteration of Hot Desert SNC Meteorites.

  2. 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.

  3. Martian meteorites and Martian magnetic anomalies: a new perspective from NWA 7034 (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Scozelli, R. B.; Munayco, P.; Agee, C. B.; Quesnel, Y.; Cournede, C.; Geissman, J. W.

    2013-12-01

    The magnetic anomalies observed above the Martian Noachian crust [1] require strong crustal remanent magnetization in the 15-60 A/m range over a thickness of 20-50 km [2,3]. The Martian rocks available for study in the form of meteorites do contain magnetic minerals (magnetite and/or pyrrhotite) but in too small amount to account for such strong remanent magnetizations [4]. Even though this contradiction was easily explained by the fact that Martian meteorites (mostly nakhlites and shergottites) are not representative of the Noachian Martian crust, we were left with no satisfactory candidate lithology to account for the Martian magnetic anomalies. The discovery in the Sahara of a new type of Martian meteorite (NWA 7034 [5] and subsequent paired stones which are hydrothermalized volcanic breccia) shed a new light on this question as it contains a much larger amount of ferromagnetic minerals than any other Martian meteorite. We present here a study of the magnetic properties of NWA 7034, together with a review of the magnetic properties of thirty other Martian meteorites. Magnetic measurements (including high and low temperature behavior and Mössbauer spectroscopy) show that NWA 7034 contains about 15 wt.% of magnetite with various degrees of substitution and maghemitization up to pure maghemite, in the pseudo-single domain size range. Pyrrhotite, a common mineral in other Martian meteorites is not detected. Although it is superparamagnetic and cannot carry remanent magnetization, nanophase goethite is present in significant amounts confirming that NWA 7034 is the most oxidized Martian meteorite studied so far, as already indicated by the presence of maghemite (this study) and pyrite [5]. These magnetic properties show that a kilometric layer of a lithology similar to NWA 7034 magnetized in a dynamo field would be enough to account for the strongest Martian magnetic anomalies. Although the petrogenesis of NWA 7034 is still debated, as the brecciation could be either

  4. Do Martian Blueberries Have Pits? -- Artifacts of an Early Wet Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lerman, L.

    2005-03-01

    Early Martian weather cycles would have supported organic chemical self-organization, the assumed predecessor to an independent "origin" of Martian life. Artifacts of these processes are discussed, including the possibility that Martian blueberries nucleated around organic cores.

  5. An Electrostatic Precipitator System for the Martian Environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calle, C. I.; Mackey, P. J.; Hogue, M. D.; Johansen, M. R.; Phillips, J. R., III; Clements, J. S.

    2012-01-01

    Human exploration missions to Mars will require the development of technologies for the utilization of the planet's own resources for the production of commodities. However, the Martian atmosphere contains large amounts of dust. The extraction of commodities from this atmosphere requires prior removal of this dust. We report on our development of an electrostatic precipitator able to collect Martian simulated dust particles in atmospheric conditions approaching those of Mars. Extensive experiments with an initial prototype in a simulated Martian atmosphere showed efficiencies of 99%. The design of a second prototype with aerosolized Martian simulated dust in a flow-through is described. Keywords: Space applications, electrostatic precipitator, particle control, particle charging

  6. Ultraviolet Radiation-induced Alteration of Martian Surface Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yen, A. S.

    1999-01-01

    The nature and origin of martian surface materials cannot be fully characterized without addressing the unusual reactivity of the soil and the effects of exposure to the unique martian environment. Our laboratory experiments show that ultraviolet radiation at the martian surface can result in the oxidation of metal atoms and the creation of reactive oxygen species on grain surfaces. This process is important in understanding the nature and evolution of martian soils. It can explain the reactivity discovered by the Viking Landers and possibly the origin of the ferric component of the soil.

  7. Spectroscopic Identification of Carbonate Minerals in the Martian Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bandfield, Joshua L.; Glotch, Timothy D.; Christensen, Philip R.

    2003-08-01

    Thermal infrared spectra of the martian surface indicate the presence of small concentrations (~2 to 5 weight %) of carbonates, specifically dominated by magnesite (MgCO3). The carbonates are widely distributed in the martian dust, and there is no indication of a concentrated source. The presence of small concentrations of carbonate minerals in the surface dust and in martian meteorites can sequester several bars of atmospheric carbon dioxide and may have been an important sink for a thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere in the martian past.

  8. Variability of the Martian thermospheric temperatures during the last 7 Martian Years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez-Galindo, Francisco; Lopez-Valverde, Miguel Angel; Millour, Ehouarn; Forget, François

    2014-05-01

    The temperatures and densities in the Martian upper atmosphere have a significant influence over the different processes producing atmospheric escape. A good knowledge of the thermosphere and its variability is thus necessary in order to better understand and quantify the atmospheric loss to space and the evolution of the planet. Different global models have been used to study the seasonal and interannual variability of the Martian thermosphere, usually considering three solar scenarios (solar minimum, solar medium and solar maximum conditions) to take into account the solar cycle variability. However, the variability of the solar activity within the simulated period of time is not usually considered in these models. We have improved the description of the UV solar flux included on the General Circulation Model for Mars developed at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD-MGCM) in order to include its observed day-to-day variability. We have used the model to simulate the thermospheric variability during Martian Years 24 to 30, using realistic UV solar fluxes and dust opacities. The model predicts and interannual variability of the temperatures in the upper thermosphere that ranges from about 50 K during the aphelion to up to 150 K during perihelion. The seasonal variability of temperatures due to the eccentricity of the Martian orbit is modified by the variability of the solar flux within a given Martian year. The solar rotation cycle produces temperature oscillations of up to 30 K. We have also studied the response of the modeled thermosphere to the global dust storms in Martian Year 25 and Martian Year 28. The atmospheric dynamics are significantly modified by the global dust storms, which induces significant changes in the thermospheric temperatures. The response of the model to the presence of both global dust storms is in good agreement with previous modeling results (Medvedev et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 2013). As expected, the simulated

  9. Development of a Martian Sonic Anemometer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dissly, R. W.; Banfield, D. J.; Lasnik, J.; Waters, J. T.; McEwan, I. J.; Richardson, M. I.

    2005-08-01

    This presentation will describe the progress to-date on the development of an acoustic anemometer for the in-situ measurement of wind speeds on Mars, funded by NASA PIDDP. Improved measurements of Martian winds are needed for several reasons: better prediction and understanding of global and regional weather, direct measurement of fluxes between surface/atmosphere of momentum, heat, and trace atmospheric constituents, characterizing and monitoring boundary layer winds that influence the safe delivery of spacecraft to/from the Martian surface, and improved characterization of geologically important aeolian processes that can pose a hazard to future exploration via dust storms and dust devils. Prior attempts to measure surface winds have been limited in capability and difficult to calibrate. Sonic anemometry, measuring wind speed via sound pulse travel-time differences, can overcome many of these issues. Sonic anemometry has several distinct advantages over other methods such as hot wire techniques: higher sensitivity ( <5 cm/s), higher time resolution (10-100 Hz), and fewer intrinsic biases for improved accuracy. Together, these open the possibility of resolving turbulent boundary layer eddies to directly capture surface-to-atmospheric fluxes for the first time. We will describe the results of our development of an acoustic anemometer using capacitive micro-machined devices, optimized for acoustic coupling in a low-pressure medium like the Martian atmosphere. This development includes transducer characterization tests in a pressure chamber at Ball Aerospace with Mars-relevant CO2 pressures. We will also describe experimental results showing that the addition of water in a low-pressure CO2 atmosphere can significantly increase acoustic attenuation. Finally we will describe plans for further optimization of the instrument for future Mars payloads.

  10. Modelling the Martian CO2 Ice Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Listowski, Constantino; Määttänen, A.; Montmessin, F.; Lefèvre, F.

    2012-10-01

    Martian CO2 ice cloud formation represents a rare phenomenon in the Solar System: the condensation of the main component of the atmosphere. Moreover, on Mars, condensation occurs in a rarefied atmosphere (large Knudsen numbers, Kn) that limits the growth efficiency. These clouds form in the polar winter troposphere and in the mesosphere near the equator. CO2 ice cloud modeling has turned out to be challenging: recent efforts (e.g. [1]) fail in explaining typical small sizes (80 nm-130 nm) observed for mesospheric clouds [2]. Supercold pockets (T<< Tcond), which appear to be common in the mesosphere [3],might be exclusively responsible of the formation of such clouds, as a consequence of gravity waves propagating throughout the atmosphere [4]. In order to understand by modeling the effect CO2 clouds could have on the Martian climate, one needs to properly predict the crystal sizes, and so the growth rates involved. We will show that Earth microphysical crystal growth models, which deal with the condensation of trace gases, are misleading when transposed for CO2 cloud formation: they overestimate the growth rates at high saturation ratios. On the other hand, an approach based on the continuum regime (small Kn), corrected to account for the free molecular regime (high Kn) remains efficient. We present our new approach for modelling the growth of Martian CO2 cloud crystals, investigated with a 1D-microphysical model. [1] Colaprete, A., et al., (2008) PSS, 56, 150C [2] Montmessin, F., et al., (2006) Icarus, 183, 403-410 [3] Montmessin at al., (2011) mamo, 404-405 [4] Spiga, A., et al., (2012), GRL, 39, L02201 [5] Wood, S. E., (1999), Ph.D. thesis, UCLA [6] Young, J. B., J. Geophys. Res., 36, 294-2956, 1993

  11. Daily and seasonal Viking observations of Martian bore wave systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunt, G. E.; Pickersgill, A. O.; James, P. B.; Evans, N.

    1981-01-01

    A Martian atmospheric phenomenon called a bore wave has been observed by the Viking imaging system during late spring and early summer of two Martian years, in the Tharsis Ridge region of the planet. The observational data are presented, and a tentative explanation is offered for the occurrence of this feature, formed by airflow and which behaves like a thermally induced diurnal katabatic breeze.

  12. Martian Cratering 4: Mariner 9 Initial Analysis of Cratering Chronology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, W. K.

    1973-01-01

    Early analyses of cratering and other Martian surface properties that indicated extensive ancient erosion have been strongly supported by Mariner 9 data. By their great variations in density, these craters indicate a history of Martian erosion and crustal development intermediate between earth and the moon.

  13. Endolithic microbial model for Martian exobiology: The road to extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oscampo-Friedmann, R.; Friedmann, E. I.

    1991-01-01

    Martian exobiology is based on the assumption that on early Mars, liquid water was present and that conditions were suitable for the evolution of life. The cause for life to disappear from the surface and the recognizable fingerprints of past microbial activity preserved on Mars are addressed. The Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem as a model for extinction in the deteriorating Martian environment is discussed.

  14. The Martian Chronicles. A Sound Filmstrip Program. Study Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christesen, Barbara

    This filmstrip study guide dramatizes several stories from Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" concerning basic issues of human nature: the need to respect cultural differences and the importance of preserving the environment. A collection of 26 short stories, "The Martian Chronicles" describes the colonization of Mars. The personal and…

  15. Agent Orange

    MedlinePlus

    ... Index Agent Orange Agent Orange Home Facts about Herbicides Veterans' Diseases Birth Defects Benefits Exposure Locations Provider ... millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides on trees and vegetation during the Vietnam War. ...

  16. Phoenix's Probe Inserted in Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    The Phoenix Mars lander's robotic-arm camera took this image of the spacecraft's thermal and electrical-conductivity probe (TECP) inserted into Martian soil on day 149 of the mission. Phoenix landed on Mars' northern plains on May 25, 2008, landing.

    The robotic-arm camera acquired this image at 16:02:41 local solar time. The camera pointing was elevation -72.6986 degrees and azimuth 2.1093 degrees.

    The Phoenix mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  17. Aerobraking in a dusty Martian atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang, I-Dee; Tauber, Michael; Papadopoulos, Periklis

    1990-01-01

    The effects of dust particle impacts on the erosion of the heat shield were estimated for a 26 m diameter aerobraking vehicle entering the Mars atmosphere at 8.6 km/sec. An explicit Navier-Stokes code was used to compute the flow field about the vehicle for the actual Martian atmospheric composition at a speed of 7.5 km/sec. The deceleration and melting of the dust particles within the forebody shock-layer was computed for dust spherules having initial diameters from 3 to 10 microns. Two heat shield materials were considered: Shuttle tiles with glassy surfaces and a low-density ablator known as Avcoat.

  18. Moessbauer Spectroscopy on the Martian Surface: Predictions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schaefer, M. W.; Dyar, M. D.

    2003-01-01

    Moessbauer spectrometers will be used on the upcoming MER/Athena and Mars Express/ Beagle 2 landers to identify and quantify relative amounts of iron-bearing minerals and determine Fe3+/Fe2+ ratios, allowing more realistic modeling of Martian mineralogy and geochemistry. To properly interpret the spectra acquired by these instruments, we must understand the Mossbauer parameters of minerals that we might expect to find on Mars. We present here a summary of predicted Fe-bearing minerals that might be observed by the MER Moessbauer spectrometers, based upon previous and our own on-going work.

  19. Nighttime Clouds in Martian Arctic (Accelerated Movie)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    An angry looking sky is captured in a movie clip consisting of 10 frames taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

    The clip accelerates the motion. The images were take around 3 a.m. local solar time at the Phoenix site during Sol 95 (Aug. 30), the 95th Martian day since landing.

    The swirling clouds may be moving generally in a westward direction over the lander.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  20. Solar neutrinos, Martian rivers, and Praesepe.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sagan, C.; Young, A. T.

    1973-01-01

    Some recent papers on solar neutrinos, Martian rivers, and Praesepe stars are reviewed. Possible causes of solar neutrino detection rates being below theoretical expectations are quoted. The widespread presence of sinuous dendritic channels on Mars is noted. The occurrence of earth-like epochs on Mars is indicated as a plausible explanation for many such channels in terms of surface liquid water flows. The roughly uniform distribution of the Praesepe stars through the main sequence width is viewed as the indication that the excursion time off the main sequence is comparable to the time between mixings.

  1. Differential degradation of Martian impact basins

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stam, M.

    1984-01-01

    Among the major problems of martian geologic history are the cause of the highland-lowland dichotomy, and of the scarp separating these two global-scale provinces. These features were formed after much of the early bombardment was completed; consequently, many of the surviving impact basins very likely were present during the creation of the dichotomy, and it is possible that differences in their present morphologies as a function of location and of relative age may provide clues to the tectonic and geomorphic processes responsible for the dichotomy and the scarp.

  2. Release of volatiles from possible Martian analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kotra, R. K.; Gibson, E. K.; Urbancic, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    Viking data suggest the presence of volatile-rich materials in the Martian regolith. The thermal stabilities of mineral phases and their volatile release profiles were studied in detail in our laboratory. Thermal analysis, combined with mass spectrometry, was applied to the study of the behavior of carbonates, sulfates, hydrates, and clays. The results indicate that these techniques are useful in the preliminary mineralogical characterizations of volatile-rich minerals. However, our results also indicate that great care must be taken in the incorporation into planetary probes of such methods as hearing rates, pressure, composition of atmospheres, grain size, etc., because these factors effect volatile release.

  3. Photometric Observations of Martian Trojan Asteroids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borisov, Galin; Christou, Apostolos; Unda-Sanzana, Eduardo

    2016-07-01

    We present R filter photometry of the Martian Trojan asteroids (101429) 1998 VF31 and (385250) 2001 DH47, carried out with the 2-m RCC and 1.3-m SMARTS telescopes during 11 nights in 2015 November and 2016 January. A periodogram analysis of the lightcurves suggests a rotation period of P = 7.70h with a low amplitude (A < 0.1 mag) for 1998 VF31 and P = 3.97h with amplitude A ~ 0.6mag for 2001 DH47.

  4. Katabatic jumps over Martian polar terrains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiga, Aymeric; Smith, Isaac; Holt, Jack

    2015-04-01

    Recent observational and modeling studies have shed light on the key role of mesoscale phenomena in driving the Martian climate and giving rise to remarkable signatures in the temperature, wind, pressure, and aerosol fields of the Martian atmosphere. At the mesoscale, Mars appears as an intense and exotic counterpart to the Earth, mainly as a result of pronounced diurnal and regional contrasts of surface temperature, and the much thinner atmosphere. While observations of clear-cut katabatic events are difficult on Earth, except over vast ice sheets, those intense downslope circulations are widespread on Mars owing to near-surface radiative cooling and uneven topography. Their intensity and regularity can be witnessed through numerous aeolian signatures on the surface, and distinctive thermal signatures in the steepest craters and volcanoes. Several observations (radar observations, frost streaks, spectral analysis of ices, ...) concur to show that aeolian processes play a key role in glacial processes in Martian polar regions over geological timescales. A spectacular manifestation of this resides in elongated clouds that forms at the bottom of polar spiral troughs, which dominates the polar landscape both in the North and South. An analogy with the terrestrial "wall-of-snow" over e.g. Antarctica slopes or coastlines posits that those clouds are caused by local katabatic jumps, also named Loewe phenomena, which can be deemed similar to first order to hydraulic jumps in open channel flow. With mesoscale modeling in polar regions using 5 nested domains operating a model downscaling from horizontal resolutions of about twenty kilometers to 200 meters, we were able 1. to predict the near-surface wind structure over the whole Martian polar caps, with interactions between katabatic acceleration, Coriolis deflection, transient phenomena, and thermally-forced circulations by the ice / bare soil contrast and 2. to show that katabatic jumps form at the bottom of polar troughs

  5. Carbonates in Martian Meteorites - A Reappraisal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grady, M. M.; Wright, I. P.; Douglas, C.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1995-09-01

    The occurrence of carbonates in martian meteorites was first established after acid dissolution and stepped combustion analyses of whole-rock Nakhla [1]. The release of CO2 after a 24 hr. reaction with 100% H3PO4 at 25 degrees C was taken to imply that the carbonate mineral present was calcite, a proposal subsequently confirmed by petrographic examination [2]. The isotopic composition of the carbon comprising the calcite was enriched in 13C (isotopically heavy) with delta^(l3)C ~ +12 per mil. An extended period of acid attack, also at 25 degrees C, released small quantities of even more 13C-enriched CO2 (delta^(13)C ~ +49 per mil), but the isotopic data were considered uncertain, and thus little significance was attached to the result, beyond the suggestion that some carbonate was perhaps dolomite or iron-bearing. Now, however, following the analysis of Fe-Mg-rich carbonates in ALH 84001 [3-5], it is apparent that previously-reported data might underestimate the abundance and delta^(13)C of carbonates in SNCs [6], and that a much higher proportion might occur as siderite or dolomite end-members. Iron- and magnesium-rich carbonates are only partially attacked at 25 degrees C, even after extended exposure to H3PO4 [7]. Given that the delta^(13)C of carbonates in SNCs has been used to deduce both environmental conditions on Mars [4, 6], and the evolution of the martian atmosphere [8], it is desirable that correct delta^(l3)c values are known. We have undertaken a reappraisal of the chemical and isotopic composition of carbonates in martian meteorites, by a programme of high resolution stepped combustion analyses and high temperature (75 degrees C) acid dissolution . Carbonates in most martian meteorites are extremely fine-grained. and therefore not easv to identify by traditional optical microscopic methods; it is not possible to determine readily the mineralogical composition of the grains. Comparison of combustion data from SNCs with that from pure materials allows

  6. Coastal geomorphology of the Martian northern plains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parker, Timothy J.; Gorsline, Donn S.; Saunders, Stephen R.; Pieri, David C.; Schneeberger, Dale M.

    1993-01-01

    The paper considers the question of the formation of the outflow channels and valley networks discovered on the Martian northern plains during the Mariner 9 mission. Parker and Saunders (1987) and Parker et al. (1987, 1989) data are used to describe key features common both in the lower reaches of the outflow channels and within and along the margins of the entire northern plains. It is suggested, that of the geological processes capable of producing similar morphologies on earth, lacustrine or marine deposition and subsequent periglacial modification offer the simplest and most consistent explanation for the suit of features found on Mars.

  7. Assay of the Martian Regolith with Neutrons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drake, Darrell M.; Reedy, R.; Jakowsky, B.; Clark, B.; Squyres, S.

    1998-01-01

    Different aspects of assaying Martian regolith using neutrons have been investigated. The epithermal portion of moderated neutrons spectra is dramatically effected by the presence of hydrogen (usually in the form of water). A simple analytic formula has been derived to describe the amplitude of this portion of the neutron spectrum as a function of water concentration. Several demonstration experiments have been performed and modeled with a Monte Carlo code. Results of these experiments generally agreed with the calculations to within 20%. In addition to He-3 detectors, lithium-glass scintillators and U-238 fission ion chambers were investigated to determine their applicability to space experiments.

  8. The dynamics of Martian satellites from observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emelyanov, N. V.; Vashkovyak, S. N.; Nasonova, L. P.

    1993-01-01

    This paper deals with the study of the motion of Martian satellites and with the determination of kinematic and dynamic parameters describing this system of satellites and planet. The values of these parameters are found on the basis of all available data of ground-based and space-based observations of Phobos and Deimos. The original analytical theory of the motion of the satellites was used and the data set was wider than in similar papers of other authors. Thus, a new specified model of the motion of Mars' satellites has been constructed.

  9. An Examination of "The Martian" Trajectory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burke, Laura

    2015-01-01

    This analysis was performed to support a request to examine the trajectory of the Hermes vehicle in the novel "The Martian" by Andy Weir. Weir developed his own tool to perform the analysis necessary to provide proper trajectory information for the novel. The Hermes vehicle is the interplanetary spacecraft that shuttles the crew to and from Mars. It is notionally a Nuclear powered vehicle utilizing VASIMR engines for propulsion. The intent of this analysis was the determine whether the trajectory as it was outlined in the novel is consistent with the rules of orbital mechanics.

  10. The Preliminary Design of a Universal Martian Lander

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norman, Timothy L.; Gaskin, David; Adkins, Sean; MacDonnell, David; Ross, Enoch; Hashimoto, Kouichi; Miller, Loran; Sarick, John; Hicks, Jonathan; Parlock, Andrew; Swalley, Frank (Technical Monitor)

    1993-01-01

    As part of the NASA/USRA program, nineteen West Virginia University students conducted a preliminary design of a manned Universal Martian Lander (UML). The WVU design considers descent to Mars from polar orbit, a six month surface stay, and ascent for rendezvous. The design begins with an unmanned UML landing at Elysium Mons followed by the manned UML landing nearby. During the six month surface stay, the eight modules are assembled to form a Martian base where scientific experiments are performed. The mission also incorporates hydroponic plant growth into a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) for water recycling, food production, and to counteract psycho-logical effects of living on Mars. In situ fuel production for the Martian Ascent and Rendezvous Vehicle (MARV) is produced From gases in the Martian atmosphere. Following surface operations, the eight member crew uses the MARV to return to the Martian Transfer Vehicle (MTV) for the journey home to Earth.

  11. An extensive phase space for the potential martian biosphere.

    PubMed

    Jones, Eriita G; Lineweaver, Charles H; Clarke, Jonathan D

    2011-12-01

    We present a comprehensive model of martian pressure-temperature (P-T) phase space and compare it with that of Earth. Martian P-T conditions compatible with liquid water extend to a depth of ∼310 km. We use our phase space model of Mars and of terrestrial life to estimate the depths and extent of the water on Mars that is habitable for terrestrial life. We find an extensive overlap between inhabited terrestrial phase space and martian phase space. The lower martian surface temperatures and shallower martian geotherm suggest that, if there is a hot deep biosphere on Mars, it could extend 7 times deeper than the ∼5 km depth of the hot deep terrestrial biosphere in the crust inhabited by hyperthermophilic chemolithotrophs. This corresponds to ∼3.2% of the volume of present-day Mars being potentially habitable for terrestrial-like life. PMID:22149914

  12. Amino acids in the Martian meteorite Nakhla

    PubMed Central

    Glavin, Daniel P.; Bada, Jeffrey L.; Brinton, Karen L. F.; McDonald, Gene D.

    1999-01-01

    A suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography in the water- and acid-soluble components of an interior fragment of the Martian meteorite Nakhla, which fell in Egypt in 1911. Aspartic and glutamic acids, glycine, alanine, β-alanine, and γ-amino-n-butyric acid (γ-ABA) were the most abundant amino acids detected and were found primarily in the 6 M HCl-hydrolyzed, hot water extract. The concentrations ranged from 20 to 330 parts per billion of bulk meteorite. The amino acid distribution in Nakhla, including the d/l ratios (values range from <0.1 to 0.5), is similar to what is found in bacterially degraded organic matter. The amino acids in Nakhla appear to be derived from terrestrial organic matter that infiltrated the meteorite soon after its fall to Earth, although it is possible that some of the amino acids are endogenous to the meteorite. The rapid amino acid contamination of Martian meteorites after direct exposure to the terrestrial environment has important implications for Mars sample-return missions and the curation of the samples from the time of their delivery to Earth. PMID:10430856

  13. Martian resource locations: Identification and optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chamitoff, Gregory; James, George; Barker, Donald; Dershowitz, Adam

    2005-04-01

    The identification and utilization of in situ Martian natural resources is the key to enable cost-effective long-duration missions and permanent human settlements on Mars. This paper presents a powerful software tool for analyzing Martian data from all sources, and for optimizing mission site selection based on resource collocation. This program, called Planetary Resource Optimization and Mapping Tool (PROMT), provides a wide range of analysis and display functions that can be applied to raw data or imagery. Thresholds, contours, custom algorithms, and graphical editing are some of the various methods that can be used to process data. Output maps can be created to identify surface regions on Mars that meet any specific criteria. The use of this tool for analyzing data, generating maps, and collocating features is demonstrated using data from the Mars Global Surveyor and the Odyssey spacecraft. The overall mission design objective is to maximize a combination of scientific return and self-sufficiency based on utilization of local materials. Landing site optimization involves maximizing accessibility to collocated science and resource features within a given mission radius. Mission types are categorized according to duration, energy resources, and in situ resource utilization. Preliminary optimization results are shown for a number of mission scenarios.

  14. Telltale Instrument Waving in the Martian Wind

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This series of images show Phoenix's telltale instrument waving in the Martian wind. Documenting the telltale's movement helps mission scientists and engineers determine what the wind is like on Mars.

    On the day these images were taken, one of the images seemed to be 'out-of-phase' with other images, possibly indicating a dust devil occurrence. Preliminary analysis of the images taken right before and after the passing of this possible dust devil indicates winds from the west at 7 meters per second. The image taken during the possible dust devil shows 11 meters per second wind from the south.

    These images were taken by the lander's Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) on the 136th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Oct. 12, 2008). Phoenix's telltale is part of the Canadian Space Agency's meteorological package on the lander.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  15. Mars Scout: Micromissions to Investigate Martian Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Ori, G. G.; Grin, E. A.; Sims, M. H.; Marinangeli, L.; McKay, C.; Marshall, J.; Thomas, H.; Rabbette, M.; Landheim, R.

    2000-01-01

    Environments can be local, regional, or global. They can include one or more geological, morphological, climatological, and biological types. An environment also represents all the interactions that take place in the identified boundaries. Current planned missions to Mars in the Surveyor Program assume a good knowledge of the Martian environment that we do not have because it cannot be obtained only from orbit. There is a missing step between orbital data and the complex Surveyor missions to be landed that needs to be filled. The Ames/IRSPS Scout Mission Concept originally proposed in February 1999 filled this gap by landing a series of small (less than 10 kgs. each) scout missions. The Mars Environment Scout Mission Concept is being developed to explore the possibility of sending a series of small, simple, and inexpensive stations to the surface of Mars. The objective(s) would be to document either: (a) the environmental diversity of Mars, (b) a specific Martian environment, and/or (c) a region of interest. This type of mission will provide critical information about environments that is currently not available, and could also be used as precursors helping the design, preparation, and planning of more complex future missions to come.

  16. Martian cratering. II - Asteroid impact history.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, W. K.

    1971-01-01

    This paper considers the extent to which Martian craters can be explained by considering asteroidal impact. Sections I, II, and III of this paper derive the diameter distribution of hypothetical asteroidal craters on Mars from recent Palomar-Leiden asteroid statistics and show that the observed Martian craters correspond to a bombardment by roughly 100 times the present number of Mars-crossing asteroids. Section IV discusses the early bombardment history of Mars, based on the capture theory of Opik and probable orbital parameters of early planetesimals. These results show that the visible craters and surface of Mars should not be identified with the initial, accreted surface. A backward extrapolation of the impact rates based on surviving Mars-crossing asteroids can account for the majority of Mars craters over an interval of several aeons, indicating that we see back in time no further than part-way into a period of intense bombardment. An early period of erosion and deposition is thus suggested. Section V presents a comparison with results and terminology of other authors.

  17. Phoenix Conductivity Probe Inserted into Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander inserted the four needles of its thermal and conductivity probe into Martian soil during the 98th Martian day, or sol, of the mission and left it in place until Sol 99 (Sept. 4, 2008).

    The Robotic Arm Camera on Phoenix took this image on the morning of Sol 99 while the probe's needles were in the ground. The science team informally named this soil target 'Gandalf.'

    The thermal and conductivity probe measures how fast heat and electricity move from one needle to an adjacent one through the soil or air between the needles. Conductivity readings can be indicators about water vapor, water ice and liquid water.

    The probe is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity suite of instruments.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  18. Phoenix Conductivity Probe Inserted in Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This series of six images from the Robotic Arm Camera on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander records the first time that the four spikes of the lander's thermal and electrical conductivity probe were inserted into Martian soil.

    The images were taken on July 8, 2008, during the Phoenix mission's 43rd Martian day, or sol, since landing. The insertion visible from the shadows cast on the ground on that sol was a validation test of the procedure. The spikes on the probe are about 1.5 centimeters or half an inch long.

    The science team will use the probe tool to assess how easily heat and electricity move through the soil from one spike to another. Such measurements can provide information about frozen or unfrozen water in the soil. The probe is mounted on the 'knuckle' of Phoenix's Robotic Arm. It has already been used for assessing water vapor in the atmosphere when it is held above the ground.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  19. Martian Soil Ready for Robotic Laboratory Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander scooped up this Martian soil on the mission's 11th Martian day, or sol, after landing (June 5, 2008) as the first soil sample for delivery to the laboratory on the lander deck.

    The material includes a light-toned clod possibly from crusted surface of the ground, similar in appearance to clods observed near a foot of the lander.

    This approximately true-color view of the contents of the scoop on the Robotic Arm comes from combining separate images taken by the Robotic Arm Camera on Sol 11, using illumination by red, green and blue light-emitting diodes on the camera.

    The scoop loaded with this sample was poised over an open sample-delivery door of Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer at the end of Sol 11, ready to be dumped into the instrument on the next sol.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  20. Wind tunnel studies of Martian aeolian processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, R.; Iversen, J. D.; Pollack, J. B.; Udovich, N.; White, B.

    1973-01-01

    Preliminary results are reported of an investigation which involves wind tunnel simulations, geologic field studies, theoretical model studies, and analyses of Mariner 9 imagery. Threshold speed experiments were conducted for particles ranging in specific gravity from 1.3 to 11.35 and diameter from 10.2 micron to 1290 micron to verify and better define Bagnold's (1941) expressions for grain movement, particularly for low particle Reynolds numbers and to study the effects of aerodynamic lift and surface roughness. Wind tunnel simulations were conducted to determine the flow field over raised rim craters and associated zones of deposition and erosion. A horseshoe vortex forms around the crater, resulting in two axial velocity maxima in the lee of the crater which cause a zone of preferential erosion in the wake of the crater. Reverse flow direction occurs on the floor of the crater. The result is a distinct pattern of erosion and deposition which is similar to some martian craters and which indicates that some dark zones around Martian craters are erosional and some light zones are depositional.

  1. SNC meteorites - Clues to Martian petrologic evolution?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSween, H. Y.

    1985-11-01

    Shergottites, nakhlites and the Chassigny meteorites (SNC group) may have originated on Mars. The shergottites are medium-grained basalts, the nakhlites are pyroxenites and the Chassigny is a dunite. The SNC group is petrologically diverse but differs from all other known achondrites in terms of mineral chemistry, the redox state, the oxygen isotopic composition and the radiometric ages. The SNC stones are mafic and ultramafic cumulate rocks with mineralogies that indicate rapid cooling and crystallization from tholeiitic magmas which contained water and experienced a high degree of oxidation. The characteristics suggest formation from a large parent body, i.e., a planet, but not earth. The estimated ages for the rocks match the estimated ages for several mapped Martian volcanoes in the Tharsis region. Additionally, the elemental and isotopic abundances of atmospheric gases embedded in melts in the SNC stones match Viking Lander data for the Martian atmosphere. However, reasons are cited for discounting the possibility that a large meteorite(s) collided with Mars about 180 myr ago and served as the mechanism for ejecting the SNC stones to earth.

  2. Amino acids in the Martian meteorite Nakhla

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glavin, D. P.; Bada, J. L.; Brinton, K. L.; McDonald, G. D.

    1999-01-01

    A suite of protein and nonprotein amino acids were detected with high-performance liquid chromatography in the water- and acid-soluble components of an interior fragment of the Martian meteorite Nakhla, which fell in Egypt in 1911. Aspartic and glutamic acids, glycine, alanine, beta-alanine, and gamma-amino-n-butyric acid (gamma-ABA) were the most abundant amino acids detected and were found primarily in the 6 M HCl-hydrolyzed, hot water extract. The concentrations ranged from 20 to 330 parts per billion of bulk meteorite. The amino acid distribution in Nakhla, including the D/L ratios (values range from <0.1 to 0.5), is similar to what is found in bacterially degraded organic matter. The amino acids in Nakhla appear to be derived from terrestrial organic matter that infiltrated the meteorite soon after its fall to Earth, although it is possible that some of the amino acids are endogenous to the meteorite. The rapid amino acid contamination of Martian meteorites after direct exposure to the terrestrial environment has important implications for Mars sample-return missions and the curation of the samples from the time of their delivery to Earth.

  3. Field Studies of Gullies and Pingos on Svalbard - a Martian Analog.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlsson, E.; Johannsson, H. A. B.; Johnsson, A.; Heldmann, J. L.; McKay, C. P.; Olvmo, M.; Johansson, L.; Fredriksson, S.; Schmidt, H. T.; McDaniel, S.; Reiss, D.; Hiesinger, H.; Hauber, E.; Zanetti, M.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction: The gully systems on Mars [1] have been found to superpose young geological surfaces such as dunes and thermal contraction polygons [2]. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggest that the gullies are relatively recent geological formations [3]. The observed gullies display a wide set of morphologies ranging from features seemingly formed by fluvial erosion to others pointing to dry landslide processes. A recent discovery [4] suggests that this is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. Several formation mechanisms have been proposed for the Martian gullies, such as liquid carbon dioxide reservoirs [5], shallow liquid water aquifer [6], melting ground ice [7], dry landslide [8], snow melt [9] and deep liquid water aquifer [10]. However, none of these models can alone explain all the gullies discovered on Mars. So far Martian gullies have been studied only from orbit via remote sensing data. Hydrostatic pingos are perennial ice-cored mounds that may reach an elongated or circular radius of approximately 150 m. They are found in periglacial environments where they are formed by freezing processes in the continuous permafrost. The pingos go through different evolutionary stages as they mature, where the final stage leaves an annular rim left by the collapse of the summit. Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show small fractured mounds in the Martian mid-latitudes [11]. Even though some differences are observed, the best terrestrial analogues for the observed mound morphology are pingos [11]. Gullies and pingos found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an analog for the Martian ones. A comparative analysis might help to understand the formation mechanisms of the Martian pingos and gullies and their possible eroding agent. Svalbard as a Martian Analog: Svalbard is situated at 74°-81°N and 10°-35°E, in the discontinuous zone of permafrost, and is a fairly good

  4. Composition of Simulated Martian Brines and Implications for the Origin of Martian Salts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

    We report on laboratory experiments that have produced dilute brines under controlled conditions meant to simulate past and present Mars. We allowed an SNC-derived mineral mix to react with pure water under a simulated present-Mars atmosphere for seven months. We then subjected the same mineral mix to a similar aqueous environment for one year, but with a simulated Mars atmosphere that contained the added gases SO2, HCl and NO2. The addition of acidic gases was designed to mimic the effects of volcanic gases that may have been present in the martian atmosphere during periods of increased volcanic activity. The experiments were performed at one bar and at two different temperatures in order to simulate subsurface conditions where liquid water and rock are likely to interact on Mars. The dominant cations dissolved in the solutions we produced were Ca(2+), Mg(2+), Al(3+) and Na(+), while the major anions are dissolved C, F(-), SO4(2-) and Cl(-). Typical solution pH was 4.2 to 6.0 for experiments run with a Mars analog atmosphere, and 3.6-5.0 for experiments with acidic gases added. Abundance patterns of elements in the synthetic sulfate-chloride brines produced under acidic conditions were distinctly unlike those of terrestrial ocean water, terrestrial continental waters, and those measured in the martian fines at the Mars Pathfinder and Viking 1 and 2 landing sites. In particular, the S/Cl ratio in these experiments was about 200, compared with an average value of approx. 5 in martian fines. In contrast, abundance patterns of elements in the brines produced under a present day Mars analog atmosphere were quite similar to those measured in the martian fines at the Mars Pathfinder and Viking 1 and 2 landing sites. This suggests that salts present in the martian regolith may have formed over time as a result of the interaction of surface or subsurface liquid water with basalts in the presence of a martian atmosphere similar in composition to that of today, rather than

  5. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays: implications for Martian exobiology.

    PubMed

    Moll, D M; Vestal, J R

    1992-08-01

    Manned exploration of Mars may result in the contamination of that planet with terrestrial microbes, a situation requiring assessment of the survival potential of possible contaminating organisms. In this study, the survival of Bacillius subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 was examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) or Martian (Fe(3+)-montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure and composition, but not to UV flux or oxidizing conditions. Survival of bacteria was determined by standard plate counts and biochemical and physiological measurements over 112 days. Extractable lipid phosphate was used to measure microbial biomass, and the rate of 14C-acetate incorporation into microbial lipids was used to determine physiological activity. MS2 survival was assayed by plaque counts. Both bacterial types survived terrestrial or Martian conditions in Wyoming montmorillonite better than Martian conditions in Fe(3+)-montmorillonite. Decreased survival may have been caused by the lower pH of the Fe(3+)-montmorillonite compared to Wyoming montmorillonite. MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, likely due to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Martian environment. The survival of MS2 in the simulated Martian environment is the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Martian type soils. This work may have implications for planetary protection for future Mars missions. PMID:11539360

  6. New insights into martian atmospheric chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boxe, C. S.; Francisco, J. S.; Shia, R.-L.; Yung, Y. L.; Nair, H.; Liang, M.-C.; Saiz-Lopez, A.

    2014-11-01

    HOx radicals are produced in the martian atmosphere by the photolysis of water vapor and subsequently participate in catalytic cycles that recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) from its photolysis product carbon monoxide (CO), providing a qualitative explanation for the stability of its atmosphere. Balancing CO2 production and loss based on our current understanding of martian gas-phase chemistry has, however, proven to be difficult. The photolysis of O3 produces O(1D), while oxidation of CO produces HOCO radicals, a new member of the HOx family. The O(1D) quantum yield has recently been updated, which quantifies nonzero quantum yields in the Huggins bands. In Earth's atmosphere HOCO is considered to be unimportant since it is quickly removed by abundant oxygen molecules. The smaller amount of O2 in the Mars' atmosphere causes HOCO's lifetime to be longer in Mars' atmosphere than Earth's (3 × 10-5 s to 1.2 days from Mars's surface to 240 km, respectively). Limited kinetic data on reactions involving HOCO prevented consideration of its reactions directly in atmospheric models. Therefore, the impact of HOCO reactions on martian chemistry is currently unknown. Here, we incorporate new literature rate constants for HOCO chemistry and an updated representation of the O(1D) quantum yield in the Caltech/JPL 1-D photochemical model for Mars' atmosphere. Our simulations exemplify perturbations to NOy, HOx, and COx species, ranging from 5% to 50%. The modified O(1D) quantum yield and new HOCO chemistry cause a 10% decrease and a 50% increase in OH and H2O2 total column abundances, respectively. At low altitudes, HOCO production contributes 5% towards CO2 production. Given recent experimentally-obtained branching ratios for the oxidation of CO, HOCO may contribute up to 70% toward the production of NOy, where HOx and NOy species are enhanced up to a factor 3, which has implications for rethinking the fundamental understanding of NOy, HOx, and CO/CO2 cycling on Mars. Two new reaction

  7. Lunar and martian meteorite delivery services

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warren, Paul H.

    1994-01-01

    Launch mechanisms for lunar and martian meteorites have been investigated, by integrating physical modeling constraints, geochemical cosmic-ray exposure (CRE) constraints, and petrologic constraints. The potential source region for lunar meteorites is remarkably small compared to the final crater volume. CRE constraints indicate that most launches start at depths of less than or equal to 3.2 m, and cratering theory implies derivation of suitably accelerated objects from a subvolume with diameter only about 0.3 x the final crater diameter. The shallow depth provenance is probably related to shock-wave interference, enhanced by the lunar regolith's extremely low compressional wave velocity. CRE constraints alone imply that four to five separate launch events are represented among the eight well-studied lunar meteorites. Most of the lunar meteorites are regolith breccias, which tend to show only limited compositional diversity within any kilometer-scale region of the Moon. Several others are polymict breccias, which also show relatively subdued compositional diversity, compared to igneous rocks. The observed diversity among these samples in terms of abundances of mare basalt and KREEP, and in Mg/(Mg + Fe) ratio, implies that among eight well-studied lunar meteorites only two potential source craters pairings are plausible: between Asuka-881757 + Y-793169 (most probable) and between Y-793274 + EET875721. Altogether, these eight lunar meteorites apparently represent at least six separate source craters, including three in the past 10(exp 5) years and five in the past 10(exp 6) years. CRE constraints imply that SNC meteorites are launched from systematically greater than lunar meteorites. SNCs are also systematically bigger, and all nine well-studied SNCs are uncommonly young (by martian standards) mafic igneous rocks. Comparison between Viking and Apollo results reveals that rocks the size of common meteorites are remarkably scarce in the martian regolith, probably due

  8. Highly Siderophile Element Abundances in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.; Neal, C. R.; Ely, J. C.

    2001-01-01

    Critical evaluation of new and literature data for highly siderophile elements (HSE) in Martian (SNC) meteorites allows several first order conclusions to be drawn. (i) Re concentrations in SNC meteorites are nearly constant (within a factor of two) and do not correlate with rock type. Exceptions to this rule are Chassigny and Dar al Gani (DaG) 476, both of which are inferred to have experienced terrestrial Re contamination. (ii) Fractionations between Rh and Pd are small. Excluding Shergotty, the Rh/Pd ratio of the SNC suite is 0.22\\pm0.05. (iii) Os and Ir contents vary by about four orders of magnitude; and positive correlations with MgO, Cr, and Ni suggest that these variations are not controlled by sulfide fractionation. A possible exception is the orthopyroxenite ALH84001, whose HSE's (including Ni, which is compatible in opx) are very low. (iv) Zagami, Shergotty, and Nakhla have nearly identical HSE signatures. Shergotty and Zagami have experienced assimilation-fractional crystallization (AFC) and have "crustal" Sr and Nd isotopic signatures. Conversely, the Nakhla parent was a small degree partial melt of a depleted mantle that interacted little with the Martian crust. These observations suggest that "evolved" HSE signatures can be produced by either fractional crystallization or small degrees of partial melting. (v) Chassigny and other mafic SNC's have HSE signatures that are very distinct from those of Nakhla-Zagami-Shergotty. The HSE elemental ratios of mafic SNC's approach chondritic, implying that the Martian mantle has nearly chondritic relative abundances of the HSE's. (vi) This chondritic HSE signature is observed in SNC's of various ages, suggesting that this is an ancient feature that has not evolved over time. (vii) No correlation is observed between HSE's and signatures of crustal contamination (e.g., Sr isotopes), indicating that the HSE signatures of the SNC suite are not derived from the crust. (vii) The Ru/Pd for the SNC suite ratio is about

  9. Principal Components Analysis Studies of Martian Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klassen, D. R.; Bell, J. F., III

    2001-11-01

    We present the principal components analysis (PCA) of absolutely calibrated multi-spectral images of Mars as a function of Martian season. The PCA technique is a mathematical rotation and translation of the data from a brightness/wavelength space to a vector space of principal ``traits'' that lie along the directions of maximal variance. The first of these traits, accounting for over 90% of the data variance, is overall brightness and represented by an average Mars spectrum. Interpretation of the remaining traits, which account for the remaining ~10% of the variance, is not always the same and depends upon what other components are in the scene and thus, varies with Martian season. For example, during seasons with large amounts of water ice in the scene, the second trait correlates with the ice and anti-corrlates with temperature. We will investigate the interpretation of the second, and successive important PCA traits. Although these PCA traits are orthogonal in their own vector space, it is unlikely that any one trait represents a singular, mineralogic, spectral end-member. It is more likely that there are many spectral endmembers that vary identically to within the noise level, that the PCA technique will not be able to distinguish them. Another possibility is that similar absorption features among spectral endmembers may be tied to one PCA trait, for example ''amount of 2 \\micron\\ absorption''. We thus attempt to extract spectral endmembers by matching linear combinations of the PCA traits to USGS, JHU, and JPL spectral libraries as aquired through the JPL Aster project. The recovered spectral endmembers are then linearly combined to model the multi-spectral image set. We present here the spectral abundance maps of the water ice/frost endmember which allow us to track Martian clouds and ground frosts. This work supported in part through NASA Planetary Astronomy Grant NAG5-6776. All data gathered at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in collaboration with

  10. A Genetic Cluster of Martian Trojan Asteroids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christou, Apostolos

    2013-10-01

    Trojan asteroids lead 60 degrees ahead (L4) or trail 60 degrees behind (L5) a planet's position along its orbit. The Trojans of Jupiter and Neptune are thought to be primordial remnants from the solar system's early evolution (Shoemaker et al., 1989; Sheppard et al., 2006). Mars is the only terrestrial planet known to host stable Trojans (Scholl et al., 2005) with ~50 km-sized objects expected to exist (Tabachnik and Evans, 1999). I identified 6 additional candidate Martian Trojans within the Minor Planet Center database, including three with multi-opposition orbits. 100 dynamical clones for each of the three asteroids were integrated for 100 Myr under a force model that included the Yarkovsky effect. All clones persisted as L5 Trojans of Mars, implying that their residence time is longer still. This is further supported by recent Gyr numerical integrations (de la Fuente Marcos and de la Fuente Marcos, 2013). The number of stable Martian Trojans is thus raised to 7, 6 of which are at L5. To investigate this asymmetry, I apply a clustering test to their orbits and compare them with the Trojan population of Jupiter. I find that, while Jupiter Trojans are spread throughout the domain where long-term stability is expected, L5 martian Trojans are far more concentrated. The implication is that these objects may be genetically related to each other and to the largest member of the group, 5261 Eureka. If so, it represents the closest such group to the Earth's orbit, still recognizable due to the absence of planetary close encounters which quickly scatter NEO families (Schunova et al., 2012). I explore the origin and nature of this `Eureka cluster', including the thesis that its members are products of the collisional fragmentation and/or rotational fission of Trojan progenitors. I constrain the cluster's age under these scenarios and argue that collisions may be responsible for the observed paucity of km-sized objects. Finally, I discuss how the hypothesis of a genetic

  11. Mapping and analysis of Martian landslides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crosta, Giovanni B.; Frattini, Paolo; Valbuzzi, Elena; Russo, Valeria

    2013-04-01

    This work is part of a larger effort aimed to a more quantitative description of landslide phenomena on Mars and the understanding of rock mass properties and landslide mobility with respect to their Earth equivalents. Recently, large satellite imagery datasets have become available and they have been mosaicked in different suitable tools making mapping an easier job than before. Furthermore, the availability of other georeferenced database makes possible and easily feasible some spatially distributed analyses. We prepared a new landslide inventory to acquire information about: landslide size distribution and areal density, controls of geometrical condition along Martian slopes, landslide typology and mechanism, relationship with impact craters distribution, runout, volume estimates, characteristic features. We adopted Google Earth, Google, Inc. as a mapping tool using both visible and CTX images. Landslides have been mapped according to standard geomorphological criteria, by two landslide experts delineating both the landslide scar and accumulation limits, associating each scarp to a deposit. Multiple accumulations have been differentiated where possible to obtain a more sound dataset. We prevalently mapped landslides located along the Martian valleys and Chasma flanks with only minor attention to classical block and slump instabilities typical of crater rim failures. This because we were mainly interested in long runout landslides or complex failures which could allow to define some rock mass characteristics along these slopes, and to study landslide mobility with respect to Earth equivalent phenomena. So long runout landslides have been mapped also when recognized within crater rims. Topographic characteristics have been extracted by means of the available MOLA dataset. The inventory presently consists of 1232 landslides covering a total area of about 180,000 km2. Landslide size ranges from 0.15 km2 to a maximum of 12,000 km2. We examined area

  12. Detailed Cloud Patterns in Martian Northern Hemisphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    Cold and cloudy mornings; cool, hazy afternoons. High winds aloft and weather fronts moving slowly to the east. It is winter in the Martian northern hemisphere. One of the many reasons to study Mars is that, at times, its weather is very 'Earth-like.' At this time of the Martian year, clouds are abundant, especially in the morning and especially in the high northern latitudes. Clouds and fogs are also observed in low-lying areas farther to the south, in some lowlands they are as far south as the equator.

    The above color composite images, obtained by Mars Global Surveyor's camera on June 4, 1998, illustrate this Martian 'weather report.' Most of the thick, white clouds seen here occur north of latitude 35oN (roughly equivalent to Albuquerque NM, Memphis TN, and Charlotte, NC). Fog (seen as bright orange because it is lighter than the ground but some of the ground is still visible) occupies the lowest portions of the Kasei Valles outflow channel around 30oN and at 25oN.

    Several different types of cloud features are seen. The repetitious, wash-board pattern of parallel lines are 'gravity wave clouds'. These commonly form, in the lee--downwind side-- of topographic features such as mountain ranges (on Earth) or crater rims (on Mars), under very specific atmospheric conditions (low temperatures, high humidity, and high wind speeds). In this area, the wave clouds are lower in the atmosphere than some of the other clouds. These other clouds show attributes reflecting more the regional weather pattern, occasionally showing the characteristic 'slash' shape (southwest to northeast) of a weather front. These clouds probably contain mostly crystals of water ice but, depending on the temperature at high altitude (and more likely closer to the pole), some could also contain frozen carbon dioxide ('dry ice').

    MOC images 34501 (the red wide angle image) and 34502 (the blue wide angle image) were obtained on Mars Global Surveyor's 345th orbit about the planet

  13. The Martian highland paterae: Evidence for explosive volcanism on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crown, David A.; Greeley, Ronald

    1988-01-01

    The Martian surface exhibits numerous volcanic landforms displaying great diversity in size, age, and morphology. Most research regarding Martian volcanology has centered around effusive basaltic volcanism, including analyses of individual lava flows, extensive lava plains, and large shield volcanoes. These studies were hindered by a lack of definitive morphologic criteria for the remote identification of ash deposits. Knowledge of the abundances, ages, and geologic settings of explosive volcanic deposits on Mars is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of the Martian surface, with implications for the evolution of the lithosphere and atmosphere as well as the histories of specific volcanic centers and provinces.

  14. History of Martian volatiles - Implications for organic synthesis.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fanale, F. P.

    1971-01-01

    A theoretical reconstruction of the history of Martian volatiles indicates that Mars probably possessed a substantial reducing atmosphere at the outset of its history, and that its present tenuous and more oxidized atmosphere is the result of extensive chemical evolution. As a consequence, it is probable that Martian atmospheric chemical conditions, now hostile with respect to abiotic organic synthesis in the gas phase, were initially favorable. Evidence indicating the chronology and degradational history of Martian surface features, surface mineralogy, bulk volatile content, internal mass distribution, and thermal history suggests that Mars catastrophically developed a substantial reducing atmosphere as the result of rapid accretion.

  15. Martian physical properties experiments: The Viking Mars Lander

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shorthill, R.W.; Hutton, R.E.; Moore, H.J.; Scott, R.F.

    1972-01-01

    Current data indicate that Mars, like the Earth and Moon, will have a soil-like layer. An understanding of this soil-like layer is an essential ingredient in understanding the Martian ecology. The Viking Lander and its subsystems will be used in a manner similar to that used by Sue Surveyor program to define properties of the Martian "soil". Data for estimates of bearing strength, cohesion, angle of internal friction, porosity, grain size, adhesion, thermal inertia, dielectric constants, and homogeneity of the Martian surface materials will be collected. ?? 1972.

  16. Prototype Backscatter Moessbauer Spectrometer for Measurement of Martian Surface Mineralogy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shelfer, T. D.; Morris, R. V.; Agresti, D. G.; Nguyen, T.; Wills, E. L.; Shen, M. H.

    1993-01-01

    We have designed and successfully tested a prototype of a backscatter Moessbauer spectrometer (BaMS) targeted for use on the Martian surface to (1) determine oxidation states of iron, and (2) identify and determine relative abundances of iron-bearing mineralogies. No sample preparation is required to perform measurements; it is only necessary to bring sample and instrument into physical contact. The prototype meets our projected specification for a flight instrument in terms of mass, power, and volume. A Moessbauer spectrometer on the Martian surface would provide wide variety of information about the current state of the Martian surface, and this information is described.

  17. Evidence for a Second Martian Dynamo from Electron Reflection Magnetometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lillis, R. J.; Manga, M.; Mitchell, D. L.; Lin, R. P.; Acuna, M. H.

    2005-01-01

    Present-day Mars does not possess an active core dynamo and associated global magnetic field. However, the discovery of intensely magnetized crust in Mars Southern hemisphere implies that a Martian dynamo has existed in the past. Resolving the history of the Martian core dynamo is important for understanding the evolution of the planet's interior. Moreover, because the global magnetic field provided by an active dynamo can shield the atmosphere from erosion by the solar wind, it may have influenced past Martian climate. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.

  18. The long winter model of Martian biology - A speculation.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sagan, C.

    1971-01-01

    A temporal microenvironment model is proposed for Martian biology that is based on an estimated mean thickness of nearly 1 km of frost in the Martian north polar cap summer remnant. If vaporized, this frost could yield not only 1 kg per sq cm of atmosphere, but also higher global temperatures through the greenhouse effect and a greatly increased likelihood of liquid water. Vaporization of such cap remnants may occur twice each equinoctial precession, and Martian organisms may now be in cryptobiotic repose awaiting the end of the long precessional winter. The Viking biology experiments might test this hypothesis.

  19. Luminescence Dating of Martian Polar Deposits: Concepts and Preliminary Measurements Using Martian Soil Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepper, K.; Kuhns, C. K.; McKeever, S. W. S.; Sears, D. W. G.

    2000-08-01

    Martian polar deposits have the potential to reveal a wealth of information about the evolution of Mars' climate and surface environment. However, as pointed out by Clifford et al. in the summary of the First International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration, 'The single greatest obstacle to unlocking and interpreting the geologic and climatic record preserved at the [martian] poles is the need for absolute dating.' At that same conference Lepper and McKeever proposed development of luminescence dating as a remote in-situ technique for absolute dating of silicate mineral grains incorporated in polar deposits. Clifford et al. have also acknowledged that luminescence dating is more practical from cost, engineering, and logistical perspectives than other isotope-based methods proposed for in-situ dating on Mars. We report here the results of ongoing experiments with terrestrial analogs of martian surface materials to establish a broad fundamental knowledge base from which robust dating procedures for robotic missions may be developed. This broad knowledge base will also be critical in determining the engineering requirements of remote in-situ luminescence dating equipment intended for use on Mars. Additional information can be found in the original extended abstract.

  20. The chlorine isotopic composition of Martian meteorites 1: Chlorine isotope composition of Martian mantle and crustal reservoirs and their interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, J. T.; Shearer, C. K.; Sharp, Z. D.; Burger, P. V.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Agee, C. B.; McKeegan, K. D.

    2016-05-01

    The Martian meteorites record a wide diversity of environments, processes, and ages. Much work has been done to decipher potential mantle sources for Martian magmas and their interactions with crustal and surface environments. Chlorine isotopes provide a unique opportunity to assess interactions between Martian mantle-derived magmas and the crust. We have measured the Cl-isotopic composition of 17 samples that span the range of known ages, Martian environments, and mantle reservoirs. The 37Cl of the Martian mantle, as represented by the olivine-phyric shergottites, NWA 2737 (chassignite), and Shergotty (basaltic shergottite), has a low value of approximately -3.8‰. This value is lower than that of all other planetary bodies measured thus far. The Martian crust, as represented by regolith breccia NWA 7034, is variably enriched in the heavy isotope of Cl. This enrichment is reflective of preferential loss of 35Cl to space. Most basaltic shergottites (less Shergotty), nakhlites, Chassigny, and Allan Hills 84001 lie on a continuum between the Martian mantle and crust. This intermediate range is explained by mechanical mixing through impact, fluid interaction, and assimilation-fractional crystallization.

  1. Stratigraphy of the Martian northern plains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tanaka, K. L.

    1993-01-01

    The northern plains of Mars are roughly defined as the large continuous region of lowlands that lies below Martian datum, plus higher areas within the region that were built up by volcanism, sedimentation, tectonism, and impacts. These northern lowlands span about 50 x 10(exp 6) km(sup 2) or 35 percent of the planet's surface. The age and origin of the lowlands continue to be debated by proponents of impact and tectonic explanations. Geologic mapping and topical studies indicate that volcanic, fluvial, and eolian deposition have played major roles in the infilling of this vast depression. Periglacial, glacial, fluvial, eolian, tectonic, and impact processes have locally modified the surface. Because of the northern plains' complex history of sedimentation and modification, much of their stratigraphy was obscured. Thus the stratigraphy developed is necessarily vague and provisional: it is based on various clues from within the lowlands as well as from highland areas within and bordering the plains. The results are summarized.

  2. Evidence for life in a martian meteorite?

    PubMed

    McSween, H Y

    1997-07-01

    The controversial hypothesis that the ALH84001 meteorite contains relics of ancient martian life has spurred new findings, but the question has not yet been resolved. Organic matter probably results, at least in part, from terrestrial contamination by Antarctic ice meltwater. The origin of nanophase magnetites and sulfides, suggested, on the basis of their sizes and morphologies, to be biogenic remains contested, as does the formation temperature of the carbonates that contain all of the cited evidence for life. The reported nonfossils may be magnetite whiskers and platelets, probably grown from a vapor. New observations, such as the possible presence of biofilms and shock metamorphic effects in the carbonates, have not yet been evaluated. Regardless of the ultimate conclusion, this controversy continues to help define strategies and sharpen tools that will be required for a Mars exploration program focused on the search for life. PMID:11541665

  3. Dynamics of a terraformed Martian biosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogg, Martyn J.

    1993-08-01

    The outcome of terraforming on Mars is examined by considering the function of its biosphere. By borrowing a life-support model of the Earth's biosphere, scenarios of ecopoiesis and full terraforming are contrasted in terms of their energy flow and matter cycling. It is argued that Martian colonists are unlikely to be satisfied with the services provided by the anaerobic biosphere produced by ecopoiesis and that full terraforming will be the specific goal of planetary engineering. The distance of Mars from the sun and its probable lack of a closed rock cycle will require small scale, conscious intervention in biogeochemical cycles to maintain the habitability of the planet. Vernadsky's concept of the noosphere (an envelope of mind) will thus have more relevance to Mars as an abode of life than Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis.

  4. Elemental composition of the Martian crust.

    PubMed

    McSween, Harry Y; Taylor, G Jeffrey; Wyatt, Michael B

    2009-05-01

    The composition of Mars' crust records the planet's integrated geologic history and provides clues to its differentiation. Spacecraft and meteorite data now provide a global view of the chemistry of the igneous crust that can be used to assess this history. Surface rocks on Mars are dominantly tholeiitic basalts formed by extensive partial melting and are not highly weathered. Siliceous or calc-alkaline rocks produced by melting and/or fractional crystallization of hydrated, recycled mantle sources, and silica-poor rocks produced by limited melting of alkali-rich mantle sources, are uncommon or absent. Spacecraft data suggest that martian meteorites are not representative of older, more voluminous crust and prompt questions about their use in defining diagnostic geochemical characteristics and in constraining mantle compositional models for Mars. PMID:19423810

  5. Simulation of Martian dust accumulation on surfaces

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perez-Davis, Marla E.; Gaier, James R.; Kress, Robert; Grimalda, Justus

    1990-01-01

    Future NASA space missions include the possibility of manned landings and exploration of Mars. Environmental and operational constraints unique to Mars must be considered when selecting and designing the power system to be used on the Mars surface. A technique is described which was developed to simulate the deposition of dust on surfaces. Three kinds of dust materials were studied: aluminum oxide, basalt, and iron oxide. The apparatus was designed using the Stokes and Stokes-Cunningham law for particle fallout, with additional consideration given to particle size and shape. Characterization of the resulting dust films on silicon dioxide, polytetrafluoroethylene, indium tin oxide, diamondlike carbon, and other surfaces are discussed based on optical transmittance measurements. The results of these experiments will guide future studies which will consider processes to remove the dust from surfaces under Martian environmental conditions.

  6. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel.

    The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

    Spirit acquired this mosaic with the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters. The view presented here is an approximately true-color rendering.

  7. Mottled terrain - A continuing Martian enigma

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scott, D. H.; Underwood, J. R., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    The mottled plains material found in the northern Martian lowlands is discussed in terms of Mariner and Viking images as well as geologic mapping based on Viking images. The mottling in Mariner 9 images of this area was associated with albedo contrasts between bright crater-ejecta blankets and dark intercrater material, and dark-crested knobs. The interpretation of the plains material based on the Mariner images is compared to an interpretation of the higher-quality Viking images. Based on the newer images, the mottled terrain is theorized to be comprised of the four constituent members of the Vastitas Borealis formation of Late Hesperian age. Fluvial, aeolian, and glaciotectonic processes are responsible for the extensive modifications of the apparently volcanic formations. The northern plains are not completely understood in spite of the Viking images, and the varied geology in those plains requires more sampling to confirm the theories.

  8. Remote sensing of the Martian surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jakosky, Bruce M.; Henderson, Bradley G.; Randall, Cora E.; Alexander, M. Joan; Mccollom, Thomas M.

    1991-01-01

    Researchers investigated the physical properties of the Martian surface as inferred from a combination of orbiting and earth-based remote sensing observations and in-situ observations. This approach provides the most detailed and self-consistent view of the global and regional nature of the surface. Results focus on the areas of modeling the diurnal variation of the surface temperature of Mars, incorporating the effects of atmospheric radiation, with implications for the interpretation of surface thermal inertia; modeling the thermal emission from particulate surfaces, with application to observations of the surfaces of the Earth, Moon, and Mars; modeling the reflectance spectrum of Mars in an effort to understand the role of particle size in the difference between the bright and dark regions; and determining the slope properties of different terrestrial surfaces and comparing them with planetary slopes derived from radar observations.

  9. Martian dust devils detector over FPGA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Lucas, E.; Miguel, M. J.; Mozos, D.; Vázquez, L.

    2012-04-01

    Digital applications that must be on-board space missions must comply with a very restrictive set of requirements. These include energy efficiency, small volume and weight, robustness and high performance. Moreover, these circuits cannot be repaired in case of error, so they must be reliable or provide some way to recover from errors. These features make reconfigurable hardware (FPGAs, Field Programmable Gate Arrays) a very suitable technology to be used in space missions. This paper presents a Martian dust devil detector implemented on an FPGA. The results show that a hardware implementation of the algorithm presents very good numbers in terms of performance compared with the software version. Moreover, as the amount of time needed to perform all the computations on the reconfigurable hardware is small, this hardware can be used most of the time to realize other applications.

  10. Martian dust devils detector over FPGA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Lucas, E.; Miguel, M. J.; Mozos, D.; Vázquez, L.

    2011-12-01

    Digital applications that must be on-board of space missions must accomplish a very restrictive set of requirements. These include energy efficiency, small volume and weight, robustness and high performance. Moreover these circuits can not be repaired in case of error, so they must be reliable or provide some way to recover from errors. These features make reconfigurable hardware (FPGAs, Field Programmable Gate Arrays) a very suitable technology to be used in space missions. This paper presents a Martian dust devil detector implemented on a FPGA. The results show that a hardware implementation of the algorithm present very good numbers in terms of performance compared with the software version. Moreover, as the amount of time needed to perform all the computations on the reconfigurable hardware is small, this hardware can be used more of the time to realize other applications.

  11. Organic degradation under simulated Martian conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, Carol R.; Bullock, Mark A.

    1997-05-01

    We report on laboratory experiments which simulate the breakdown of organic compounds under Martian surface conditions. Chambers containing Mars-analog soil mixed with the amino acid glycine were evacuated and filled to 100 mbar pressure with a Martian atmosphere gas mixture and then irradiated with a broad spectrum Xe lamp. Headspace gases were periodically withdrawn and analyzed via gas chromatography for the presence of organic gases expected to be decomposition products of the glycine. The quantum efficiency for the decomposition of glycine by light at wavelengths from 2000 to 2400 Å was measured to be 1.46+/-1.0×10-6molecules/photon. Scaled to Mars, this represents an organic destruction rate of 2.24+/-1.2×10-4g of Cm-2yr-1. We compare this degradation rate with the rate that organic compounds are brought to Mars as a result of meteoritic infall to show that organic compounds are destroyed on Mars at rates far exceeding the rate that they are deposited by meteorites. Thus the fact that no organic compounds were found on Mars by the Viking Lander Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer experiment can be explained without invoking the presence of strong oxidants in the surface soils. The organic destruction rate may be considered as an upper bound for the globally averaged biomass production rate of extant organisms at the surface of Mars. This upper bound is comparable to the slow growing cryptoendolithic microbial communities found in dry Antarctica deserts. Finally, comparing these organic destruction rates to recently reported experiments on the stability of carbonate on the surface of Mars, we find that organic compounds may currently be more stable than calcite.

  12. Comprehensive analysis of glaciated martian crater Greg

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hartmann, William K.; Ansan, Veronique; Berman, Daniel C.; Mangold, Nicolas; Forget, François

    2014-01-01

    The 66-km diameter martian crater, Greg, east of Hellas, hosts various distinctive features, including dendritic valleys filled with chevron-textured masses (south wall), and lobate tongues a few kilometers long (north wall). We analyze these features by various quantitative techniques to illuminate martian geologic and climatic history. Crater retention model ages indicate that Greg is at least 1-3 Gy old, but surface layers of mantles and glacial features are orders of magnitude younger. Properties of the dendritic valleys, combined with climate models, suggest that fluvial activity began under a thicker, warmer atmosphere, soon after the crater's formation. The oldest exposed fluvial systems have surface crater retention ages of a few hundred My, indicating runoff in recent geologic time. Much of Greg is covered by ice-rich mantle deposits, for which we infer gradual accumulation and depths of order 30-85 m; they mask pre-existing landforms. The lobate tongues are interpreted as glaciers with mean slope of 10.2 ± 2.3° and average thickness of 33 ± 19 m. Our calculations and data suggest that these glaciers were originally ice-rich and that their surface layers have been depleted by volatile loss. The glaciers probably formed when ice-rich mantle deposits reached critical thickness and flowed downhill. The top 5-10 m of the mantle and glaciers show crater survival times of order a few My to ˜15 My, which, remarkably, is the time since the last 1-4 episodes of obliquity >45°. Global climate models affirm that Greg lies in one of two non-polar areas with extremes of ice deposition during high-obliquity epochs. This match with observations supports the use of such models in studies of planetary climate change.

  13. Possible Meteorites in the Martian Hills

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    From its winter outpost at 'Low Ridge' inside Gusev Crater, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this spectacular, color mosaic of hilly, sandy terrain and two potential iron meteorites. The two light-colored, smooth rocks about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the frame have been labeled 'Zhong Shan' and 'Allan Hills.'

    The two rocks' informal names are in keeping with the rover science team's campaign to nickname rocks and soils in the area after locations in Antarctica. Zhong Shang is an Antarctic base that the People's Republic of China opened on Feb. 26, 1989, at the Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay in East Antarctica. Allan Hills is a location where researchers have found many Martian meteorites, including the controversial ALH84001, which achieved fame in 1996 when NASA scientists suggested that it might contain evidence for fossilized extraterrestrial life. Zhong Shan was the given name of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), known as the 'Father of Modern China.' Born to a peasant family in Guangdong, Sun moved to live with his brother in Honolulu at age 13 and later became a medical doctor. He led a series of uprisings against the Qing dynasty that began in 1894 and eventually succeeded in 1911. Sun served as the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912.

    The Zhong Shan and Allan Hills rocks, at the left and right, respectively, have unusual morphologies and miniature thermal emission spectrometer signatures that resemble those of a rock known as 'Heat Shield' at the Meridiani site explored by Spirit's twin, Opportunity. Opportunity's analyses revealed Heat Shield to be an iron meteorite.

    Spirit acquired this approximately true-color image on the rover's 872nd Martian day, or sol (June 16, 2006), using exposures taken through three of the panoramic camera's filters, centered on wavelengths of 600 nanometers, 530 nanometers, and 480 nanometers.

  14. A photochemical model of the martian atmosphere.

    PubMed

    Nair, H; Allen, M; Anbar, A D; Yung, Y L; Clancy, R T

    1994-09-01

    The factors governing the amounts of CO, O2, and O3 in the martian atmosphere are investigated using a minimally constrained, one-dimensional photochemical model. We find that the incorporation of temperature-dependent CO2 absorption cross sections leads to an enhancement in the water photolysis rate, increasing the abundance of OH radicals to the point where the model CO abundance is smaller than observed. Good agreement between models and observations of CO, O2, O3, and the escape flux of atomic hydrogen can be achieved, using only gas-phase chemistry, by varying the recommended rate constants for the reactions CO + OH and OH + HO2 within their specified uncertainties. Similar revisions have been suggested to resolve discrepancies between models and observations of the terrestrial mesosphere. The oxygen escape flux plays a key role in the oxygen budget on Mars; as inferred from the observed atomic hydrogen escape, it is much larger than recent calculations of the exospheric escape rate for oxygen. Weathering of the surface may account for the imbalance. Quantification of the escape rates of oxygen and hydrogen from Mars is a worthwhile objective for an upcoming martian upper atmospheric mission. We also consider the possibility that HOx radicals may be catalytically destroyed on dust grains suspended in the atmosphere. Good agreement with the observed CO mixing ratio can be achieved via this mechanism, but the resulting ozone column is much higher than the observed quantity. We feel that there is no need at this time to invoke heterogeneous processes to reconcile models and observations. PMID:11539176

  15. Petrified Campus: The Crisis in Canada's Universities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bercuson, David; Bothwell, Robert; Granatstein, J. L.

    This book, which examines Canada's university system in the 1990s, is a follow-up to a 1984 book that was critical of Canadian undergraduate education. Educational finance, college admission standards, gender and racial issues, tenure, academic freedom, and scholarly writing and publishing are among the topics discussed. The charges against the…

  16. Biological Agents

    MedlinePlus

    ... to Z Index Contact Us FAQs What's New Biological Agents This page requires that javascript be enabled ... and Health Topics A-Z Index What's New Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms and ...

  17. Workshop on Evolution of Martian Volatiles. Part 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jakosky, B. (Editor); Treiman, A. (Editor)

    1996-01-01

    Different aspects of martian science are discussed. Topics covered include: early Mars volatile inventory, evolution through time, geological influences, present atmospheric properties, soils, exobiology, polar volatiles, and seasonal and diurnal cycles

  18. Mobility of icy sand packs, with application to Martian permafrost

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Durham, W.B.; Pathare, A.V.; Stern, L.A.; Lenferink, H.J.

    2009-01-01

    [1] The physical state of water on Mars has fundamental ramifications for both climatology and astrobiology. The widespread presence of "softened" Martian landforms (such as impact craters) can be attributed to viscous creep of subsurface ground ice. We present laboratory experiments designed to determine the minimum amount of ice necessary to mobilize topography within Martian permafrost. Our results show that the jammed-to-mobile transition of icy sand packs neither occurs at fixed ice content nor is dependent on temperature or stress, but instead correlates strongly with the maximum dry packing density of the sand component. Viscosity also changes rapidly near the mobility transition. The results suggest a potentially lower minimum volatile inventory for the impact-pulverized megaregolith of Mars. Furthermore, the long-term preservation of partially relaxed craters implies that the ice content of Martian permafrost has remained close to that at the mobility transition throughout Martian history. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

  19. Estimating Volume of Martian Valleys Using Axelsson Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jung, J. H.; Kim, C. J.; Heo, J.; Luo, W.

    2012-03-01

    A progressive TIN densification algorithm is adapted to estimate the volume martian valley networks (VN) based MOLA point data. This method can be used to estimate the global water inventory associated with VN.

  20. Weathering and Secondary Minerals in the Martian Meteorite Shergotty

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wentworth, Susan J.; Thomas-Keprta, Kathie L.; McKay, David S.

    2000-01-01

    The Shergotty martian meteorite contains weathering features and secondary minerals much like those in Nakhla, including secondary silicates, NaCl, and Ca-sulfate. It is likely that the weathering occurred on Mars.

  1. 'Bounce' and Martian Meteorite of the Same Mold

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    These two sets of bar graphs compare the elemental compositions of six martian rocks: 'Bounce,' located at Meridiani Planum; EETA79001-B, a martian meteorite found in Antarctica in 1979; a rock found at the Mars Pathfinder landing site; Shergotty, a martian meteorite that landed in India in 1865; 'Adirondack,' located at Gusev Crater; and 'Humphrey,' also located at Gusev Crater. The graph on the left compares magnesium/iron ratios in the rocks, and the graph on the right compares aluminum/calcium ratios. The results illustrate the diversity of rocks on Mars and indicate that Bounce probably shares origins with the martian meterorite EETA79001-B. The Bounce data was taken on sol 68 by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

  2. Halobacterium Salinarum: Polyextremophile Model for Life Inside Martian Halite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Srivastava, A.

    2014-07-01

    The present work briefly reviews the recent studies on long-term survival potential of Halobacterium salinarum in ancient terrestrial halite and studies the possible survival ability of this poly-extremophilic archaeon inside martian halite.

  3. Martian stable isotopes: volatile evolution, climate change and exobiological implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jakosky, B. M.

    1999-01-01

    Measurements of the ratios of stable isotopes in the martian atmosphere and crust provide fundamental information about the evolution of the martian volatile and climate system. Current best estimates of the isotope ratios indicate that there has been substantial loss of gases to space and exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the crust throughout geologic time; exchange may have occurred through circulation of water in hydrothermal systems. Processes of volatile evolution and exchange will fractionate the isotopes in a manner that complicates the possible interpretation of isotopic data in terms of any fractionation that may have been caused by martian biota, and must be understood first. Key measurements are suggested that will enhance our understanding of the non-biological fractionation of the isotopes and of the evolution of the martian volatile system.

  4. Crater Floor Fractures: Probes Into Habitable Martian Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, R. J.; Hynek, B. M.

    2016-05-01

    Geologic and spectral analysis of martian impact craters reveals the potential for floor-fractures with a aqueous/volcanic genesis to probe into both ancient surface and Hesperian-aged deep habitable environments.

  5. Hematite Mineralized Bacterial Remnants: Implications for Martian Hematite Deposits

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schelble, Rachel T.; Westall, Frances; Allen, Carlton C.; Brearley, Adrian J.

    2001-01-01

    Hematite mineralized bacterial remnants in the Gunflint Formation [early Proterozoic] can be used as an analog for potential microfossils in martian iron deposits. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  6. Identifying Martian Hydrothermal Sites: Geological Investigation Utilizing Multiple Datasets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dohm, J. M.; Baker, V. R.; Anderson, R. C.; Scott, D. H.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Hare, T. M.

    2000-01-01

    Comprehensive geological investigations of martian landscapes that may have been modified by magmatic-driven hydrothermal activity, utilizing multiple datasets, will yield prime target sites for future hydrological, mineralogical, and biological investigations.

  7. Amino Acids in the Antarctic Martian Meteorite MIL03346

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glavin, D. P.; Aubrey, A.; Dworkin, J. P.; Botta, O.; Bada, J. L.

    2005-01-01

    The report by McKay et al. that the Martian meteorite ALH84001 contains evidence for life on Mars remains controversial. Of central importance is whether ALH84001 and other Antarctic Martian meteorites contain endogenous organic compounds. In any investigation of organic compounds possibly derived from Mars it is important to focus on compounds that play an essential role in biochemistry as we know it and that have properties such as chirality which can be used to distinguish between biotic versus abiotic origins. Amino acids are one of the few compounds that fulfill these requirements. Previous analyses of the Antarctic Martian meteorites ALH84001 and EETA79001 have shown that these meteorites contain low levels of terrestrial amino acid contamination derived from Antarctic ice meltwater. Here we report preliminary amino acid investigations of a third Antarctic Martian meteorite MIL03346 which was discovered in Antarctica during the 2003-04 ANSMET season. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract

  8. A System of Systems Approach for Martian Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Semrud, E. B.; Evans, B. W.; Fredericks, B.; Wells, D.

    2012-06-01

    A system of systems is designed for characterization of the Martian atmosphere and exploration of lava tubes in preparation for human colonization. Multiple expendable deployable sensor packages ensure mission success with a high level of redundancy.

  9. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Martian Meteorites: Petrology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Martian Meteorites: Petrology: included the following reports:Volatile Behavior in Lunar and Terrestrial Basalts During Shock: Implications for Martian Magmas; Problems with a Low-Pressure Tholeiitic Magmatic History for the Chassigny Dunite; Fast Cooling History of the Chassigny Martian Meteorite; Rehomogenized Interstitial and Inclusion Melts in Lherzolitic Shergottite ALH 77005: Petrologic Significance; Compositional Controls on the Formation of Kaersutite Amphibole in Shergottite Meteorites; Chemical Characteristics of an Olivine-Phyric Shergottite, Yamato 980459; Pb-Hf-Sr-Nd Isotopic Systematics and Age of Nakhlite NWA 998; Noble Gases in Two Samples of EETA 79001 (Lith. A); Experimental Constraints on the Iron Content of the Martian Mantle; and Mars as the Parent Body for the CI Carbonaceous Chondrites: New Data.

  10. Dust Ejection Induced by Small Meteoroids Impacting Martian Surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shuvalov, Valery

    2001-01-01

    The objective of this study is numerical modeling of meteoroid impact on the martian surface and determination of the resulting dust cloud parameters. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. Alteration of Sedimentary Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Tartese, R.; Santos, A. R.; Domokos, G.; Muttik, N.; Szabo, T.; Vazquez, J.; Boyce, J. W.; Keller, L. P.; Jerolmack, D. J.; Anand, M.; Moser, D. E.; Delhaye, T.; Shearer, C. K.; Agee, C. B.

    2014-01-01

    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and pairings represent the first brecciated hand sample available for study from the martian surface [1]. Detailed investigations of NWA 7034 have revealed substantial lithologic diversity among the clasts [2-3], making NWA 7034 a polymict breccia. NWA 7034 consists of igneous clasts, impact-melt clasts, and "sedimentary" clasts represented by prior generations of brecciated material. In the present study we conduct a detailed textural and geochemical analysis of the sedimentary clasts.

  12. Standardizing the nomenclature of Martian impact crater ejecta morphologies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barlow, Nadine G.; Boyce, Joseph M.; Costard, Francois M.; Craddock, Robert A.; Garvin, James B.; Sakimoto, Susan E.H.; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Roddy, David J.; Soderblom, Laurence A.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Crater Morphology Consortium recommends the use of a standardized nomenclature system when discussing Martian impact crater ejecta morphologies. The system utilizes nongenetic descriptors to identify the various ejecta morphologies seen on Mars. This system is designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between researchers. Crater morphology databases will be archived through the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, where a comprehensive catalog of Martian crater morphologic information will be maintained.

  13. Martian cratering and central peak statistics - Mariner 9 results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cordell, B. M.; Lingenfelter, R. E.; Schubert, G.

    1974-01-01

    Mariner 9 imagery shows that central peaked craters occur much more frequently in the Martian south polar region than in typical equatorial areas, and that both regions have crater size frequency distributions characteristic of saturation. Several arguments indicate that a preferential production mechanism, e.g., pingo formation made possible by subsurface permafrost confined to Martian polar regions, may account for the central peak excess in the south polar region.

  14. Clearing the Martian air - The troubled history of dust storms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, L. J.

    1984-03-01

    This note is an attempt to resolve some misconceptions regarding the historical record of the Martian atmospheric phenomena referred to as 'dust storms,' but often called yellow storms, yellow clouds, planetwide dust storms, global dust storms, great dust storms, etc. The known frequency of planet-encircling storms will be specifically addressed. Better knowledge of the sizes, frequencies, and locations of Martian dust storms is needed for atmospheric modeling and for future mission planning.

  15. The Spokane flood controversy and the Martian outflow channels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, V. R.

    1978-01-01

    The controversy over Bretz's hypothesis concerning the cataclysmic Spokane flood is discussed. Attention is directed to similarities between the Channeled Scabland of Washington and some Martian land features considered to be catastrophic flood channels. Characteristics of the enormous plexus of proglacial stream channels eroded into the loess and basalt of the Columbia Plateau in eastern Washington are described. The controversiality of the suggestion that a catastrophic flood is responsible for the Martian features is considered with respect to the Spokane flood controversy.

  16. [Meteoritics and mineralogy on possible ancient Martian life].

    PubMed

    Tsuchiyama, A

    1996-12-01

    Possible relic biogenic activity in martian meteorite ALH84001 was proposed by McKay et al. (Science, 273, 924-930, 1996). This ancient meteorite of 4.5 billion years old contains abundant carbonates as secondary minerals precipitated from a fluid on the martian surface. They showed the following lines of evidence for the ancient life; (1) unique mineral compositions and biominerals, (2) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in association with the carbonates, and (3) unique structures and morphologies typical of nanobacteria or microfossils. This review is divided into two parts; one is on the martian meteorites in general and ALH84001, which has many features unlike other martian meteorites, and the other is on mineralogical (biomineralogical) and geochemical features of the carbonates and microfossil-like structures. There is little doubt that ALH84001 is from Mars as well as eleven other SNC meteorites. However, the mineralogical and biomineralogical evidence for martian bacteria given by McKay et al. (1996) is controversial, and could be formed by non-biogenic processes. Thus, further study of ALH84001 and other martian meteorites is required. We also need to consider the future Mars mission especially sample return mission. PMID:11540347

  17. Refining Martian Ages and Understanding Geological Processes From Cratering Statistics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, William K.

    2005-01-01

    Senior Scientist William K. Hartman presents his final report on Mars Data Analysis Program grant number NAG5-12217: The third year of the three-year program was recently completed in mid-2005. The program has been extremely productive in research and data analysis regarding Mars, especially using Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey imagery. In the 2005 alone, three papers have already been published, to which this work contributed.1) Hartmann, W. K. 200.5. Martian cratering 8. Isochron refinement and the history of Martian geologic activity Icarus 174, 294-320. This paper is a summary of my entire program of establishing Martian chronology through counts of Martian impact craters. 2) Arfstrom, John, and W. K. Hartmann 2005. Martian flow features, moraine-like rieges, and gullies: Terrestrial analogs and interrelationships. Icarus 174,32 1-335. This paper makes pioneering connections between Martian glacier-like features and terrestrial glacial features. 3) Hartmann, W.K., D. Winterhalter, and J. Geiss. 2005 Chronology and Physical Evolution of Planet Mars. In The Solar System and Beyond: Ten Years of ISSI (Bern: International Space Science Institute). This is a summary of work conducted at the International Space Science Institute with an international team, emphasizing our publication of a conference volume about Mars, edited by Hartmann and published in 2001.

  18. A thermal plume model for the Martian convective boundary layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colaïtis, A.; Spiga, A.; Hourdin, F.; Rio, C.; Forget, F.; Millour, E.

    2013-07-01

    The Martian planetary boundary layer (PBL) is a crucial component of the Martian climate system. Global climate models (GCMs) and mesoscale models (MMs) lack the resolution to predict PBL mixing which is therefore parameterized. Here we propose to adapt the "thermal plume" model, recently developed for Earth climate modeling, to Martian GCMs, MMs, and single-column models. The aim of this physically based parameterization is to represent the effect of organized turbulent structures (updrafts and downdrafts) on the daytime PBL transport, as it is resolved in large-eddy simulations (LESs). We find that the terrestrial thermal plume model needs to be modified to satisfyingly account for deep turbulent plumes found in the Martian convective PBL. Our Martian thermal plume model qualitatively and quantitatively reproduces the thermal structure of the daytime PBL on Mars: superadiabatic near-surface layer, mixing layer, and overshoot region at PBL top. This model is coupled to surface layer parameterizations taking into account stability and turbulent gustiness to calculate surface-atmosphere fluxes. Those new parameterizations for the surface and mixed layers are validated against near-surface lander measurements. Using a thermal plume model moreover enables a first-order estimation of key turbulent quantities (e.g., PBL height and convective plume velocity) in Martian GCMs and MMs without having to run costly LESs.

  19. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.

    2004-01-01

    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  20. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.

    2005-01-01

    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  1. MOC Views of Martian Solar Eclipses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site]

    The shadow of the martian moon, Phobos, has been captured in many recent wide angle camera views of the red planet obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC). Designed to monitor changes in weather and surface conditions, the wide angle cameras are also proving to be a good way to spot the frequent solar eclipses caused by the passage of Phobos between Mars and the Sun.

    The first figure (above), shows wide angle red (left), blue (middle), and color composite (right) views of the shadow of Phobos (elliptical feature at center of each frame) as it was cast upon western Xanthe Terra on August 26, 1999, at about 2 p.m.local time on Mars. The image covers an area about 250 kilometers (155 miles) across and is illuminated from the left. The meandering Nanedi Valles is visible in the lower right corner of the scene. Note the dark spots on three crater floors--these appear dark in the red camera image (left) but are barely distinguished in the blue image (middle), while the shadow is dark in both images. The spots on the crater floors are probably small fields of dark sand dunes.

    The second figure shows three samples of MOC's global image swaths, each in this case with a shadow of Phobos visible (arrow). The first scene (left) was taken on September 1, 1999, and shows the shadow of Phobos cast upon southern Elysium Planitia. The large crater with dark markings on its floor at the lower right corner is Herschel Basin. The second scene shows the shadow of Phobos cast upon northern Lunae Planum on September 8, 1999. Kasei Valles dominates the upper right and the deep chasms of Valles Marineris dominate the lower third of the September 8 image. The picture on the right shows the shadow of Phobos near the giant volcano, Olympus Mons (upper left), on September 25, 1999. Three other major volcanoes are visible from lower-center (Arsia Mons) and right-center (Pavonis Mons) to upper

  2. Identification of Iron-Bearing Phases on the Martian Surface and in Martian Meteorites and Analogue Samples by Moessbauer Spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klingelhoefer, G.; Agresti, D. G.; Schroeder, C.; Rodionov, D.; Yen, A.; Ming, Doug; Morris, Richard V.

    2007-01-01

    The Moessbauer spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit (Gusev Crater) and Opportunity (Meridiani Planum) have each analyzed more than 100 targets during their ongoing missions (>1050 sols). Here we summarize the Fe-bearing phases identified to date and compare the results to Moessbauer analyses of martian meteorites and lunar samples. We use lunar samples as martian analogues because some, particularly the low-Ti Apollo 15 mare basalts, have bulk chemical compositions that are comparable to basaltic martian meteorites [1,2]. The lunar samples also provide a way to study pigeonite-rich samples. Pigeonite is a pyroxene that is not common in terrestrial basalts, but does often occur on the Moon and is present in basaltic martian meteorites

  3. Multiyear Simulations of the Martian Water Cycle with the Ames General Circulation Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haberle, R. M.; Schaeffer, J. R.; Nelli, S. M.; Murphy, J. R.

    2003-01-01

    Mars atmosphere is carbon dioxide dominated with non-negligible amounts of water vapor and suspended dust particles. The atmospheric dust plays an important role in the heating and cooling of the planet through absorption and emission of radiation. Small dust particles can potentially be carried to great altitudes and affect the temperatures there. Water vapor condensing onto the dust grains can affect the radiative properties of both, as well as their vertical extent. The condensation of water onto a dust grain will change the grain s fall speed and diminish the possibility of dust obtaining high altitudes. In this capacity, water becomes a controlling agent with regard to the vertical distribution of dust. Similarly, the atmosphere s water vapor holding capacity is affected by the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Dust is an excellent green house catalyst; it raises the temperature of the atmosphere, and thus, its water vapor holding capacity. There is, therefore, a potentially significant interplay between the Martian dust and water cycles. Previous research done using global, 3-D computer modeling to better understand the Martian atmosphere treat the dust and the water cycles as two separate and independent processes. The existing Ames numerical model will be employed to simulate the relationship between the Martian dust and water cycles by actually coupling the two cycles. Water will condense onto the dust, allowing the particle's radiative characteristics, fall speeds, and as a result, their vertical distribution to change. Data obtained from the Viking, Mars Pathfinder, and especially the Mars Global Surveyor missions will be used to determine the accuracy of the model results.

  4. Rocket dust storms and detached dust layers in the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiga, Aymeric; Faure, Julien; Madeleine, Jean-Baptiste; Määttänen, Anni; Forget, François

    2013-04-01

    Airborne dust is the main climatic agent in the Martian environment. Local dust storms play a key role in the dust cycle; yet their life cycle is poorly known. Here we use mesoscale modeling that includes the transport of radiatively active dust to predict the evolution of a local dust storm monitored by OMEGA on board Mars Express. We show that the evolution of this dust storm is governed by deep convective motions. The supply of convective energy is provided by the absorption of incoming sunlight by dust particles, rather than by latent heating as in moist convection on Earth. We propose to use the terminology "rocket dust storm," or conio-cumulonimbus, to describe those storms in which rapid and efficient vertical transport takes place, injecting dust particles at high altitudes in the Martian troposphere (30-50 km). Combined to horizontal transport by large-scale winds, rocket dust storms produce detached layers of dust reminiscent of those observed with Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Since nighttime sedimentation is less efficient than daytime convective transport, and the detached dust layers can convect during the daytime, these layers can be stable for several days. The peak activity of rocket dust storms is expected in low-latitude regions at clear seasons (late northern winter to late northern summer), which accounts for the high-altitude tropical dust maxima unveiled by Mars Climate Sounder. Dust-driven deep convection has strong implications for the Martian dust cycle, thermal structure, atmospheric dynamics, cloud microphysics, chemistry, and robotic and human exploration.

  5. Absolute ages from crater statistics: Using radiometric ages of Martian samples for determining the Martian cratering chronology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neukum, G.

    1988-01-01

    In the absence of dates derived from rock samples, impact crater frequencies are commonly used to date Martian surface units. All models for absolute dating rely on the lunar cratering chronology and on the validity of its extrapolation to Martian conditions. Starting from somewhat different lunar chronologies, rather different Martian cratering chronologies are found in the literature. Currently favored models are compared. The differences at old ages are significant, the differences at younger ages are considerable and give absolute ages for the same crater frequencies as different as a factor of 3. The total uncertainty could be much higher, though, since the ratio of lunar to Martian cratering rate which is of basic importance in the models is believed to be known no better than within a factor of 2. Thus, it is of crucial importance for understanding the the evolution of Mars and determining the sequence of events to establish an unambiguous Martian cratering chronology from crater statistics in combination with clean radiometric ages of returned Martian samples. For the dating goal, rocks should be as pristine as possible from a geologically simple area with a one-stage emplacement history of the local formation. A minimum of at least one highland site for old ages, two intermediate-aged sites, and one very young site is needed.

  6. Brines and evaporites: analogs for Martian life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancinelli, R. L.; Fahlen, T. F.; Landheim, R.; Klovstad, M. R.

    2004-01-01

    Data from recent Mars missions suggest that Mars almost certainly had abundant liquid water on its surface at some time in the past. As a result, Mars has emerged as a key solar system target that could have harbored some form of life in the past, and which could perhaps still possess remnants of life in brine-containing permafrost. As Mars lost its atmosphere it became cold and dry. Any remaining water on the surface may have formed saline brine pockets within the permafrost. These brine pockets may either be an "oasis" for an extant Martian biota, or the last refuge of an extinct Martian biota. Eventually, these brine pockets would have dried to form evaporites. Evaporites are deposits that result from the evaporation of saline water, which on earth represent primarily halite (NaCl), gypsum, (CaSO 42H 2O), and anhydrite (CaSO 4). Evaporites that contain bacterial and algal assemblages exist on earth today and are well known in the fossil record. The most likely organism type to survive in a brine or evaporite on earth is a halophile. The objective of this study was to determine the potential of microbes to survive in frozen evaporites. Washed mid-log phase and stationary phase cultures of Haloarcula-G (a species isolated by us during a previous study) and Halobacterium salinarum were either suspended in brine (25% NaCl solution), dried, and then exposed to -20 or -80 °C. For comparison, cultures of Deinococcus radiodurans, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were treated similarly, except they were resuspended in 0.5% NaCl solution. Also, to mimic a brine pocket samples of washed mid-log phase cells of each organism were placed in an aqueous solution of 25% NaCl, or in their respective nutrient medium containing 25% NaCl. Periodically, samples of the cells were removed and tested for survival. Data from these experiments suggest that halophiles survive better than non-halophiles under low temperature conditions. These observations would suggest that

  7. The Martian Dust Cycle: Observations and Modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kahre, Melinda A.

    2013-01-01

    The dust cycle is critically important for Mars' current climate system. Suspended atmospheric dust affects the radiative balance of the atmosphere, and thus greatly influences the thermal and dynamical state of the atmosphere. Evidence for the presence of dust in the Martian atmosphere can be traced back to yellow clouds telescopically observed as early as the early 19th century. The Mariner 9 orbiter arrived at Mars in November of 1971 to find a planet completely enshrouded in airborne dust. Since that time, the exchange of dust between the planet's surface and atmosphere and the role of airborne dust on Mars' weather and climate has been studied using observations and numerical models. The goal of this talk is to give an overview of the observations and to discuss the successes and challenges associated with modeling the dust cycle. Dust raising events on Mars range in size from meters to hundreds of kilometers. During some years, regional storms merge to produce hemispheric or planet encircling dust clouds that obscure the surface and raise atmospheric temperatures by tens of kelvin. The interannual variability of planet encircling dust storms is poorly understood. Although the occurrence and season of large regional and global dust storms are highly variable from one year to the next, there are many features of the dust cycle that occur year after year. A low-level dust haze is maintained during northern spring and summer, while elevated levels of atmospheric dust occur during northern autumn and winter. During years without global-scale dust storms, two peaks in total dust loading are generally observed: one peak occurs before northern winter solstice and one peak occurs after northern winter solstice. Numerical modeling studies attempting to interactively simulate the Martian dust cycle with general circulation models (GCMs) include the lifting, transport, and sedimentation of radiatively active dust. Two dust lifting processes are commonly represented in

  8. Extraction of Oxygen from the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    England, C.

    2004-01-01

    A mechanical process was designed for direct extraction of molecular oxygen from the martian atmosphere based on liquefaction of the majority component, CO2, followed by separation of the lower-boiling components. The atmospheric gases are compressed from about 0.007 bar to 13 bar and then cooled to liquefy most of the CO2. The uncondensed gases are further compressed to 30 bar or more, and then cooled again to recover water as ice and to remove much of the remaining CO2. The final gaseous products consisting mostly of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon monoxide are liquefied and purified by cryogenic distillation. The liquefied CO2 is expanded back to the low-pressure atmosphere with the addition of heat to recover a majority of the compression energy and to produce the needed mechanical work. Energy for the process is needed primarily as heat to drive the CO2-based expansion power system. When properly configured, the extraction process can be a net producer of electricity. The conceptual design, termed 'MARRS' for Mars Atmosphere Resource Recovery System, was based on the NASA/JSC Mars Reference Mission (MRM) requirement for oxygen. This mission requires both liquid oxygen for propellant, and gaseous oxygen as a component of air for the mission crew. With single redundancy both for propellant and crew air, the oxygen requirement for the MRM is estimated at 5.8 kg/hr. The process thermal power needed is about 120 kW, which can be provided at 300-500 C. A lower-cost nuclear reactor made largely of stainless steel could serve as the heat source. The chief development needed for MARRS is an efficient atmospheric compression technology, all other steps being derived from conventional chemical engineering separations. The conceptual design describes an exceptionally low-mass compression system that can be made from ultra-lightweight and deployable structures. This system adapts to the rapidly changing martian environment to supply the atmospheric resource to MARRS at

  9. Studies of the Martian Magnetic Field

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Russell, C. T.

    1998-01-01

    This report covers two awards: the first NAGW-2573 was awarded to enable participation in the Mars 94 mission that slipped to become the Mars 96 mission. Upon the unfortunate failure of Mars 96 to achieve its intended trajectory, the second grant was awarded to closeout the Mars 96 activities. Our initial efforts concentrated on assisting our colleagues: W. Riedler, K. Schwingenschuh, K. Gringanz, M. Verigin and Ye. Yeroshenko with advice on the development of the magnetic field portion of the investigation and to help them with test activities. We also worked with them to properly analyze the Phobos magnetic field and plasma data in order to optimize the return from the Mars 94/96 mission. This activity resulted in 18 papers on Mars scientific topics, and two on the instrumentation. One of these latter two papers was the last of the papers written, and speaks to the value of the closeout award. These 20 papers are listed in the attached bibliography. Because we had previously studied Venus and Titan and since it was becoming evident that the magnetic field was very weak, we compared the various properties of the Martian interaction with those of the analogous interactions at Venus and Titan while other papers simply analyzed the properties of the interaction as Phobos 2 observed them. One very interesting observation was the identification of ions picked up in the solar wind, originating in Mars neutral atmosphere. These had been predicted by our earlier observation of cyclotron waves at the proton gyrofrequency in the region upstream from Mars in the solar wind. Of course, the key question we addressed was that of the intrinsic or induced nature of the Martian magnetic field. We found little evidence for the former and much for the latter point of view. We also discussed the instrumentation planned for the Mars balloon and the instrumentation on the orbiter. In all these studies were very rewarding despite the short span of the Phobos data. Although they did not

  10. Northwest Africa 8159: New Type of Martian Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agee, C. B.; Muttik, N.; Ziegler, K. G.; Walton, E. L.; Herd, C. D. K.; McCubbin, F. M.; Santos, A. R.; Simon, J. I.

    2014-12-01

    Up until recently the orthopyroxenite ALH 84001 and basaltic breccia NWA 7034 were the only martian meteorites that did not fit within the common SNC types. However with the discovery of Northwest Africa (NWA) 8159, the diversity is expanded further with a third unique non-SNC meteorite type. The existence of meteorite types beyond the narrow range seen in SNCs is what might be expected from a random cratering sampling of a volcanically long-lived and geologically complex planet such as Mars. NWA 8159, a fine-grained, augite basalt, is a new type of martian meteorite, with SNC-like oxygen isotopes and Fe/Mn values, but having several characteristics that make it distinct from other known martian meteorite types. NWA 8159 is the only martian basalt type known to have augite as the sole pyroxene phase in its mineralogy. NWA 8159 is unique among martian meteorites in that it possesses both crystalline plagioclase and shock amorphized plagioclase, often observed within a single grain, the bracketing of plagioclase amorphization places the estimated peak shock pressures at >15 GPa and <23 GPa. Magnetite in NWA 8159 is exceptionally pure, whereas most martian meteorites contain solid-solution titano-magnetites, and this pure magnetite is a manifestation of the highest oxygen fugacity (fO2) yet observed in a martian meteorite. Although NWA 8159 has the highest fO2 of martian meteorites, it has a pronounced light rare earth (LREE) depletion pattern similar to that of very low fO2 basaltic shergottites such as QUE 94201. Thus NWA 8159 displays a striking exception to well documented correlation between fO2 and LREE patterns in SNC meteorites. Finally, NWA 8159 stands apart from other martian meteorites in that it has an an early Amazonian age that is not represented in the SNCs, ALH 84001, or the NWA 7034 pairing group. NWA 8159 appears to be from an eruptive flow or shallow intrusion that is petrologically distinct from shergottite basalts, and its crystallization age

  11. Field Studies of Gullies and Pingos on Svalbard - a Martian Analog.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlsson, E.; Johannsson, H. A. B.; Johnsson, A.; Heldmann, J. L.; McKay, C. P.; Olvmo, M.; Johansson, L.; Fredriksson, S.; Schmidt, H. T.; McDaniel, S.; Reiss, D.; Hiesinger, H.; Hauber, E.; Zanetti, M.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction: The gully systems on Mars [1] have been found to superpose young geological surfaces such as dunes and thermal contraction polygons [2]. This in combination with the general absence of superimposed impact craters suggest that the gullies are relatively recent geological formations [3]. The observed gullies display a wide set of morphologies ranging from features seemingly formed by fluvial erosion to others pointing to dry landslide processes. A recent discovery [4] suggests that this is an ongoing process, which appears to occur even today. Several formation mechanisms have been proposed for the Martian gullies, such as liquid carbon dioxide reservoirs [5], shallow liquid water aquifer [6], melting ground ice [7], dry landslide [8], snow melt [9] and deep liquid water aquifer [10]. However, none of these models can alone explain all the gullies discovered on Mars. So far Martian gullies have been studied only from orbit via remote sensing data. Hydrostatic pingos are perennial ice-cored mounds that may reach an elongated or circular radius of approximately 150 m. They are found in periglacial environments where they are formed by freezing processes in the continuous permafrost. The pingos go through different evolutionary stages as they mature, where the final stage leaves an annular rim left by the collapse of the summit. Images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) show small fractured mounds in the Martian mid-latitudes [11]. Even though some differences are observed, the best terrestrial analogues for the observed mound morphology are pingos [11]. Gullies and pingos found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an analog for the Martian ones. A comparative analysis might help to understand the formation mechanisms of the Martian pingos and gullies and their possible eroding agent. Svalbard as a Martian Analog: Svalbard is situated at 74°-81°N and 10°-35°E, in the discontinuous zone of permafrost, and is a fairly good

  12. Originof magnetite in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, E.; Fuller, M.

    2003-04-01

    The magnetization of ALH84001 is predominantly carried by single domain magnetite, which is found in association with carbonate. The magnetite is found in topotactic relationship with the carbonate in regions of iron rich carbonate, whereas in magnesium richer areas periclase is found. The magnetite formed from the carbonate by thermal decomposition of siderite at elevated temperature in a major impact event at about 4.0 Gyr. Chromite is also present in large amounts, but it is predominantly paramagnetic at room temperature with a Neel point close to 100^oK. Carbonate with associated magnetite is also found in the martian meteorite Nakhla. Experiments and theory show that siderite is a major product of percolation and evaporation of brines generated under pressures of more than 0.1bar of carbon dioxide. This is the preferred explanation for the carbonate in nakhla, as well as in ALH84001. Thermal decomposition of siderite may result from deep burial, magmatic heat sources, or as in the case of ALH84001, impact heating.

  13. Magnetic properties of Martian surface material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hargraves, R. B.

    1984-01-01

    The hypothesis that the magnetic properties of the Martian surface material are due to the production of a magnetic phase in the clay mineral nontronite by transient shock heating is examined. In the course of the investigation a magnetic material is produced with rather unusual properties. Heating from 900 C to 1000 C, of natural samples of nontronite leads first to the production of what appears to be Si doped maghemite gamma (-Fe2O3). Although apparently metastable, the growth of gamma -Fe2O3 at these temprtures is unexpected, and its relative persistence of several hours at 1000 C is most surprising. Continued annealing of this material for longer periods promote the crystallization of alpha Fe2O3 and cristobalite (high temperature polymorph of SiO2). All available data correlate this new magnetic material with the cristobalite hence our naming it magnetic ferri cristobalite. Formation of this magnetic cristobalite, however, may require topotactic growth from a smectite precursor.

  14. Possible Martian brines: Radar observations and models

    SciTech Connect

    Zent, A.P.; Fanale, F.P. ); Roth, L.E. )

    1990-08-30

    The 1971 and 1973 Goldstone 12.6-cm radar observations of Mars are separate data sets which include reflectivity as a function of latitude, longitude, and season. It has been argued that secular reflectivity variations of Mars' surface are indicated by the data and that shallow subsurface melting is the causal mechanism most compatible with the observations; however, the melting hypothesis conflicts with accepted notions of the state and distribution of water on Mars. The authors examine the data to identify temporal and spatial domains within which statistically significant changes in measured reflectivity are clustered. A few reflectivity changes may be genuine; others may be due to ephemeris errors or binning during data reduction. Brines which might satisfy the best supported reflectivity variations are out of equilibrium with the chemical megaenvironment. It is unclear whether such a brine, if emplaced in the Martian regolith at a depth shallow enough to affect the radar reflectivity, could survive even a single freeze-thaw cycle. They suggest that some combination of unique scattering properties or some as yet unidentified process other than melting is responsible for any genuine reflectivity variations.

  15. The heating environment during Martian atmospheric descent

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tauber, Michael E.; Yang, Lily

    1988-01-01

    It has been shown that a vehicle with a lift/drag ratio of 2.3 entering the Martian atmosphere at parabolic speed of 5 km/sec, or from a low orbit at 3.5 km/sec, has a very large landing footprint. At the 5-km/sec entry speed, the trajectory exhibits large skipping motions; however, a lateral range of up to 3300 km is attainable. The entries from low satellite orbit yield a gliding lateral range of 2500 km. The distances correspond to latitude changes of 57 and 42 deg, respectively. The high-speed, skipping entries were accompanied by the most intense heating. The peak stagnation point convective rates varied from 59 W/sq cm to 88 W/sq cm for partially and fully catalytic walls, respectively; the corresponding equilibrium wall temperatures were 1900 K and 2100 K. The peak heating at a wing leading-edge point reached 50 W/sq cm because of the presence of a transitional boundary layer. The lower-speed, gliding entries experienced much milder heating with a peak stagnation point rate of about 14 W/sq cm, resulting in a wall temperature near 1300 K. However, the longer duration of the gliding entries resulted in comparable heat loads for both entry speeds. The highest heat loads approached values experienced by the Shuttle orbiter stagnation point during a typical entry.

  16. Martian crater counts on Elysium Mons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mcbride, Kathleen; Barlow, Nadine G.

    1990-01-01

    Without returned samples from the Martian surface, relative age chronologies and stratigraphic relationships provide the best information for determining the ages of geomorphic features and surface regions. Crater-size frequency distributions of six recently mapped geological units of Elysium Mons were measured to establish their relative ages. Most of the craters on Elysium Mons and the adjacent plains units are between 500 and 1000 meters in diameter. However, only craters 1 km in diameter or larger were used because of inadequate spatial resolution of some of the Viking images and to reduce probability of counting secondary craters. The six geologic units include all of the Elysium Mons construct and a portion of the plains units west of the volcano. The surface area of the units studied is approximately 128,000 sq km. Four of the geologic units were used to create crater distribution curves. There are no craters larger than 1 km within the Elysium Mons caldera. Craters that lacked raised rims, were irregularly shaped, or were arranged in a linear pattern were assumed to be endogenic in origin and not counted. A crater frequency distribution analysis is presented.

  17. Cold ion escape from the Martian ionosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fränz, M.; Dubinin, E.; Andrews, D.; Barabash, S.; Nilsson, H.; Fedorov, A.

    2015-12-01

    We here report on new measurements of the escape flux of oxygen ions from Mars by combining the observations of the ASPERA-3 and MARSIS experiments on board the European Mars Express spacecraft. We show that in previous estimates of the total heavy ion escape flow the contribution of the cold ionospheric outflow with energies below 10 eV has been underestimated. Both case studies and the derived flow pattern indicate that the cold plasma observed by MARSIS and the superthermal plasma observed by ASPERA-3 move with the same bulk speed in most regions of the Martian tail. We determine maps of the tailside heavy ion flux distribution derived from mean ion velocity distributions sampled over 7 years. If we assume that the superthermal bulk speed derived from these long time averages of the ion distribution function represent the total plasma bulk speed we derive the total tailside plasma flux. Assuming cylindrical symmetry we determine the mean total escape rate for the years 2007-2014 at 2.8 ± 0.4 ×1025 atoms / s which is in good agreement with model estimates. A possible mechanism to generate this flux can be the ionospheric pressure gradient between dayside and nightside.

  18. Cold Ion Escape from the Martian Ionosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fränz, M.; Dubinin, E.; Andrews, D.; Nilsson, H.; Barabash, S.; Fedorov, A.

    2015-10-01

    We here report on new measurements of the escape flux of oxygen ions from Mars by combining the observations of the ASPERA-3 and MARSIS experiments on board the European Mars Express spacecraft. We show that in previous estimates of the total heavy ion escape flow the contribution of the coldionospheric outflow with energies below 10 eV has been underestimated. Both case studies and the derived flow pattern indicate that the cold plasma observed by MARSIS and the superthermal plasma observed by ASPERA-3 move with the same bulk speed in most regions of the Martian tail. We determine maps of the tailside heavy ion flux distribution derived from mean ion velocity distributions sampled over 7 years. If we assume that the superthermal bulk speed derived from these long time averages of the ion distribution function represent the total plasma bulk speed we derive the total tailside plasma flux. Assuming cylindrical symmetry we determine the mean total escape rate for the years 2007 to 2014 at 2.9±0.2×10 25 atoms/s which is in good agreement with model estimates. In this talk we will also try to compare these results with more recent observations by the MAVEN spacecraft. Possible mechanism to generate this flux can be the ionospheric pressure gradient between dayside and nightside or momentum transfer from the solar wind via the induced magnetic field since the flow velocity is in the Alfvénic regime.

  19. A photochemical model of the martian atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nair, Hari; Allen, Mark; Anbar, Ariel D.; Yung, Yuk L; Clancy, R. Todd

    1994-01-01

    The factors governing the amounts of CO, O2, and O3 in the martian atmposphere are investigated using a minimally constrained, one-dimensional photochemical model. We find that the incorporation of temperature-dependent CO2 absorption cross sections leads to an enhancement in the water photolysis rate, increasing the abundance of OH radicals to the point where the model CO abundance is smaller that observed. Good agreement between models and observations of CO, O2, O3, and the escape flux of atomic hydrogen can be achieved, using only gas-phase chemistry, by varying the recommended rate constraints for the reaction CO + OH and OH + HO2 within their specified uncertainties. The oxygen escape flux plays a key role in the oxygen budget on Mars; as inferred from the observed atomic hydrogen escape, it is much larger than recent calculations of the exospheric escape rate for oxygen. Weathering of the surface may account for the imbalance. We also consider the possiblity that HO(x) radicals may be catalytically destroyed on dust grains suspended in the atmosphere. Good agreement with the observed CO mixing ratio can be achieved via this mechanism, but the resulting ozone column is much higher than the observed quantity.

  20. Possible Martian brines - Radar observations and models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, Aaron P.; Fanale, Fraser P.; Roth, Ladislav E.

    1990-01-01

    The 1971 and 1973 Goldstone 12.6-cm radar observations of Mars are separate data sets which include reflectivity as a function of latitude, longitude, and season. It has been argued that secular reflectivity variations of Mars' surface are indicated by the data and that shallow subsurface melting is the causal mechanism most compatible with the observations; however, the melting hypothesis conflicts with accepted notions of the state and distribution of water on Mars. The data are examined to identify temporal and spatial domains within which statistically significant changes in measured reflectivity are clustered. Brines which might satisfy the best supported reflectivity variations are out of equilibrium with the chemical megaenvironment. It is unclear whether such a brine, if emplaced in the Martian regolith at a depth shallow enough to affect the radar reflectivity, could survive even a single freeze-thaw cycle. Some combination of unique scattering properties or some as yet unidentified process other than melting is responsible for any genuine reflectivity variations.

  1. Secondary electron emission from Martian soil simulant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pavlů, J.; Beránek, M.; Vaverka, J.; Å afránková, J.; Němeček, Z.; Richterová, I.

    2014-01-01

    In the recent years, growing interest in dust charging physics is connected with several lander missions running on or planned to the Moon, Mars, and Mercury for a near future. In support of these missions, laboratory simulations are a potential tool to optimize in situ exploration and measurements. In the paper, we have investigated electrical properties of a Martian soil simulant prepared at the Johnson Space Center under name JSC Mars-1 using the dust charging experiment when a single dust grain is trapped in a vacuum chamber and its secondary electron emission is studied. The exposure of the grain to the electron beam revealed that the grain surface potential is low and generally determined by a mean atomic number of the grain material at a low-energy range (<1 keV), whereas it can reach a limit of the field ion emission being irradiated by more energetic electrons. A comparison of model and experimental results reveals an influence of the grain shape and size predominantly in the range of higher (>2 keV) electron energies. We discuss possible implications of the secondary electron emission for the presence of lightnings on Mars.

  2. Martian paleolakes and waterways: Exobiological implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scott, D.H.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Dohm, J.M.

    1991-01-01

    The problems of how warm and wet Mars once was and when climate transitions may have occurred are not well understood. Mars may have had an early environment similar to Earth's that was conductive to the ermergence of life. In addition, increasing geologic evidence indicates that water, upon which terrestrial life depends, has been present on Mars throughout its history. This evidence suggests that life could have developed not only on early Mars but also over longer periods of time in longer lasting, more clement local environments. Indications of past or present life most likely would be found in areas where liquid water existed in sufficient quantities to provide for the needs of biological systems. We suggest that paleolakes may have provided such environments. Unlike the case on Earth, this record of the origin and evolution of life has probably not been erased by extensive deformation of the Martian surface. Our work has identified eleven prospective areas where large lacustrine basins may once have existed. These areas are important for future biological, geological, and climatological investigations. ?? 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

  3. Coaxial Cables for Martian Extreme Temperature Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ramesham, Rajeshuni; Harvey, Wayne L.; Valas, Sam; Tsai, Michael C.

    2011-01-01

    Work was conducted to validate the use of the rover external flexible coaxial cabling for space under the extreme environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The antennas must survive all ground operations plus the nominal 670-Martian-day mission that includes summer and winter seasons of the Mars environment. Successful development of processes established coaxial cable hardware fatigue limits, which were well beyond the expected in-flight exposures. In keeping with traditional qualification philosophy, this was accomplished by subjecting flight-representative coaxial cables to temperature cycling of the same depth as expected in-flight, but for three times the expected number of in-flight thermal cycles. Insertion loss and return loss tests were performed on the coaxial cables during the thermal chamber breaks. A vector network analyzer was calibrated and operated over the operational frequency range 7.145 to 8.450 GHz. Even though some of the exposed cables function only at UHF frequencies (approximately 400 MHz), the testing was more sensitive, and extending the test range down to 400 MHz would have cost frequency resolution. The Gore flexible coaxial cables, which were the subject of these tests, proved to be robust and displayed no sign of degradation due to the 3X exposure to the punishing Mars surface operations cycles.

  4. Inversion of topography in Martian highland terrains

    SciTech Connect

    De Hon, R.A.

    1985-01-01

    Ring furrows are flat-floored trenches, circulate in plan view, forming rings 7 to 50 km in diameter. Typically, ring furrows, which are 0.5 km deep and 2 to 10 km wide, surround a central, flat-topped, circular mesa or plateau. The central plateau is about the same elevation or lower than the plain outside the ring. Ring furrows are unique features of the dissected martian uplands. Related landforms range from ring furrows with fractured central plateaus to circular mesas without encircling moats. Ring furrows are superposed on many types of materials, but they are most common cratered plateau-type materials that are interpreted as volcanic flow material overlying ancient cratered terrain. The ring shape and size suggest that they are related to craters partially buried by lava flows. Ring furrows were formed by preferential removal of exposed rims of partially buried craters. Evidence of overland flow of water is lacking except within the channels. Ground ice decay and sapping followed by fluvial erosion are responsible for removal of the less resistant rim materials. Thus, differential erosion has caused a reversal of topography in which the originally elevated rim is reduced to negative relief.

  5. Atomic oxygen in the Martian thermosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stewart, A. I. F.; Alexander, M. J.; Meier, R. R.; Paxton, L. J.; Bougher, S. W.; Fesen, C. G.

    1992-01-01

    Modern models of thermospheric composition and temperature and of excitation and radiative transfer processes are used to simulate the O I 130-nm emission from Mars measured by the Mariner 9 ultraviolet spectrometer. This paper uses the Mars thermospheric general circulation model calculations (MTGCM) of Bougher et al. (1988) and the Monte Carlo partial frequency redistribution multiple scattering code of Meier and Lee (1982). It is found that the decline in atomic oxygen through the daylight hours predicted by the MTGCM cannot be reconciled with the excess afternoon brightness seen in the data. Oxygen concentrations inferred from the data show a positive gradient through the day, in agreement with the original analysis by Strickland et al. (1973). In addition, the data suggest that the oxygen abundance increases toward high southerly latitudes, in contrast with the MTGCM prediction of high values in the Northern Hemisphere. It appears that solar forcing alone cannot account for the observed characteristics of the Martian thermosphere and that wave and tidal effects may profoundly affect the structure, winds, and composition.

  6. Volcanoes and volcanic provinces - Martian western hemisphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scott, D. H.

    1982-01-01

    The recognition of some Martian landforms as volcanoes is based on their morphology and geologic setting. Other structures, however, may exhibit classic identifying features to a varying or a less degree; these may be only considered provisionally as having a volcanic origin. Regional geologic mapping of the western hemisphere of Mars from Viking images has revealed many more probable volcanoes and volcanotectonic features than were recognized on Mariner 9 pictures. These abundant volcanoes have been assigned to several distinct provinces on the basis of their areal distribution. Although the Olympus-Tharsis region remains as the principle center of volcanism on Mars, four other important provinces are now also recognized: the lowland plains, Tempe Terra plateau, southern highlands (in the Phaethontis and Thaumasia quadrangles), and a probable ignimbrite province, situated along the highland-lowland boundary in Amazonis Planitia. Volcanoes in any one province vary in morphlogy, size, and age, but volcanoes in each province tend to have common characteristics that distinguish that particular group.

  7. Plasma acceleration above martian magnetic anomalies.

    PubMed

    Lundin, R; Winningham, D; Barabash, S; Frahm, R; Holmström, M; Sauvaud, J-A; Fedorov, A; Asamura, K; Coates, A J; Soobiah, Y; Hsieh, K C; Grande, M; Koskinen, H; Kallio, E; Kozyra, J; Woch, J; Fraenz, M; Brain, D; Luhmann, J; McKenna-Lawler, S; Orsini, R S; Brandt, P; Wurz, P

    2006-02-17

    Auroras are caused by accelerated charged particles precipitating along magnetic field lines into a planetary atmosphere, the auroral brightness being roughly proportional to the precipitating particle energy flux. The Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms experiment on the Mars Express spacecraft has made a detailed study of acceleration processes on the nightside of Mars. We observed accelerated electrons and ions in the deep nightside high-altitude region of Mars that map geographically to interface/cleft regions associated with martian crustal magnetization regions. By integrating electron and ion acceleration energy down to the upper atmosphere, we saw energy fluxes in the range of 1 to 50 milliwatts per square meter per second. These conditions are similar to those producing bright discrete auroras above Earth. Discrete auroras at Mars are therefore expected to be associated with plasma acceleration in diverging magnetic flux tubes above crustal magnetization regions, the auroras being distributed geographically in a complex pattern by the many multipole magnetic field lines extending into space. PMID:16484488

  8. MOC Views of Martian Solar Eclipses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site]

    The shadow of the martian moon, Phobos, has been captured in many recent wide angle camera views of the red planet obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC). Designed to monitor changes in weather and surface conditions, the wide angle cameras are also proving to be a good way to spot the frequent solar eclipses caused by the passage of Phobos between Mars and the Sun.

    The first figure (above), shows wide angle red (left), blue (middle), and color composite (right) views of the shadow of Phobos (elliptical feature at center of each frame) as it was cast upon western Xanthe Terra on August 26, 1999, at about 2 p.m.local time on Mars. The image covers an area about 250 kilometers (155 miles) across and is illuminated from the left. The meandering Nanedi Valles is visible in the lower right corner of the scene. Note the dark spots on three crater floors--these appear dark in the red camera image (left) but are barely distinguished in the blue image (middle), while the shadow is dark in both images. The spots on the crater floors are probably small fields of dark sand dunes.

    The second figure shows three samples of MOC's global image swaths, each in this case with a shadow of Phobos visible (arrow). The first scene (left) was taken on September 1, 1999, and shows the shadow of Phobos cast upon southern Elysium Planitia. The large crater with dark markings on its floor at the lower right corner is Herschel Basin. The second scene shows the shadow of Phobos cast upon northern Lunae Planum on September 8, 1999. Kasei Valles dominates the upper right and the deep chasms of Valles Marineris dominate the lower third of the September 8 image. The picture on the right shows the shadow of Phobos near the giant volcano, Olympus Mons (upper left), on September 25, 1999. Three other major volcanoes are visible from lower-center (Arsia Mons) and right-center (Pavonis Mons) to upper

  9. Plasma acceleration in the Martian magnetotail

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esteban Hernandez, Rosa; Modolo, Ronan; Leblanc, François; Chaufray, Jean-Yves; Curry, Shannon M.; Steckiewicz, Morgane; Connerney, John E. P.; McFadden, James P.; Jakosky, Bruce M.; Brain, David A.; DiBraccio, Gina A.; Romanelli, Norberto; Halekas, Jasper S.; Mitchell, David L.

    2016-04-01

    Since November 2014, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft has been collecting data from Mars's upper atmosphere and induced magnetosphere (Jakosky et al., 2015). Evidences of escaping planetary ions have been reported from earlier missions as Mars-Express (Barabash et al., 2007) and more recently from MAVEN (e.g. Dong et al., 2015, Brain et al., 2015). Our goal is to determine the acceleration mechanism responsible for the energization of planetary ions in the Martian plasma sheet. MAVEN has a full plasma package with a magnetometer and plasma particles instruments, which allow to address the question of plasma particle acceleration. According to Dubinin et al. (2011), the j x B force due to magnetic shear stresses of the draped field lines is expected to play a major role in such energization process. On MAVEN data, we have first identified and characterized current sheet crossings taking place in Mars' magnetotail and then tested the Walén relation to infer the significance of the j x B force in the particle's energization. To characterize the plasma sheet crossing we have worked with MAVEN magnetometer (MAG, Connerney et al., SSR, 2015) and mass spectrometer (STATIC, McFadden et al., SSR, 2015) data, focusing on a particular event. We have performed a minimum variance analysis, on the magnetic field observations which allows to characterize the current sheet. We present results of the Walén test and our conclusions on planetary plasma acceleration in the plasma sheet region.

  10. Electric field generation in martian dust devils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barth, Erika L.; Farrell, William M.; Rafkin, Scot C. R.

    2016-04-01

    Terrestrial dust devils are known to generate electric fields from the vertical separation of charged dust particles. The particles present within the dust devils on Mars may also be subject to similar charging processes and so likely contribute to electric field generation there as well. However, to date, no Mars in situ instrumentation has been deployed to measure electric field strength. In order to explore the electric environment of dust devils on Mars, the triboelectric dust charging physics from the Macroscopic Triboelectric Simulation (MTS) code has been coupled to the Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS). Using this model, we examine how macroscopic electric fields are generated within martian dust disturbances and attempt to quantify the time evolution of the electrodynamical system. Electric fields peak for several minutes within the dust devil simulations. The magnitude of the electric field is a strong function of the size of the particles present, the average charge on the particles and the number of particles lifted. Varying these parameters results in peak electric fields between tens of millivolts per meter and tens of kilovolts per meter.

  11. Characterization of Dark Streaks on Martian Slopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fenton, L. K.; Danielson, G. E.; Albee, A.; MGS MOC Science Team

    1998-09-01

    The narrow angle MOC images from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) show dozens of examples of dark streaks on Martian hillsides that may be indicative of fluid flow. In many cases multiple streaks seem to initiate from a narrow layer near the tops of steep slopes. They appear from these layers as narrow features that quickly broaden and then either remain the same width downhill or narrow and disappear. The largest streak observed to date is approximately 2 km in length and 100 m in width. MOLA data is not yet available to determine the slope down the length of the streaks. The lack of variation in brightness downhill and across the streaks shows that the formation of each streak occurred quickly. The streaks are widely distributed globally, but seem to be confined to layered materials. The streaks' characteristics show not only that the material forming them moved rapidly downslope but also that the streak material originated within the nearby bedrock. Change in brightness from one streak to another provides relative streak ages, assuming that dust infall causes an increase in streak albedo. The dark streaks are caused by a process that appears similar to fluid flow at the resolution of the MOC images. Possible causes of the streaks are water flow, lava flow, and debris flow. Our results are not yet conclusive as to the origins of the dark streaks, but we narrow the range of possible formation processes.

  12. Magnetic properties of Martian surface material

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hargraves, R. B.

    1984-06-01

    The hypothesis that the magnetic properties of the Martian surface material are due to the production of a magnetic phase in the clay mineral nontronite by transient shock heating is examined. In the course of the investigation a magnetic material is produced with rather unusual properties. Heating from 900 C to 1000 C, of natural samples of nontronite leads first to the production of what appears to be Si doped maghemite gamma (-Fe2O3). Although apparently metastable, the growth of gamma -Fe2O3 at these temprtures is unexpected, and its relative persistence of several hours at 1000 C is most surprising. Continued annealing of this material for longer periods promote the crystallization of alpha Fe2O3 and cristobalite (high temperature polymorph of SiO2). All available data correlate this new magnetic material with the cristobalite hence our naming it magnetic ferri cristobalite. Formation of this magnetic cristobalite, however, may require topotactic growth from a smectite precursor.

  13. Determining Catalytic Cycles in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stock, Joachim; Boxe, Christopher; Grenfell, Lee; Lehmann, Ralph; Patzer, Beate; Rauer, Heike; Yung, Yuk

    2010-05-01

    Chemical trace species play an important role in the chemical composition of terrestrial planetary atmospheres. These species can operate in catalytic cycles, which critically affect the concentrations of major chemical constituents and hence the whole structure of the atmosphere itself. The determination of chemical pathways in such complex systems is generally a challenging task, so effective methods are desirable for the investigation of such problems. In order to address this question to the chemical catalytic cycles in the atmosphere of Mars, we use a new analysis tool (Pathway Analysis Program - PAP), which was originally developed and applied to automatically identify and quantify ozone and methane cycles in Earth's stratosphere. The implemented algorithm determines and quantifies all significant pathways by treating each species one after the other as a branching point. Pathways are formed by connecting shorter pathways producing those branching point species with pathways consuming them. Reaction rates are assigned to the pathways proportional to the branching probabilities. In order to identify and analyze the dominant chemical processes in the Martian atmosphere, we apply PAP to the CalTech photochemical column model. The methodology of the algorithm is presented and first results of our analysis are discussed in view of the relevant chemical trace species.

  14. Martian seismicity through time from surface faulting

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golombek, M. P.; Tanaka, Kenneth L.; Banerdt, W. B.; Tralli, D.

    1991-01-01

    An objective of future Mars missions involves emplacing a seismic network on Mars to determine the internal structure of the planet. An argument based on the relative geologic histories of the terrestrial planets suggests that Mars should be seismically more active than the Moon, but less active than the Earth. The seismicity is estimated which is expected on Mars through time from slip on faults visible on the planets surface. These estimates of martian seismicity must be considered a lower limit as only structures produced by shear faulting visible at the surface today are included (i.e., no provision is made for buried structures or non-shear structures); in addition, the estimate does not include seismic events that do not produce surface displacement (e.g., activity associated with hidden faults, deep lithospheric processes or volcanism) or events produced by tidal triggering or meteorite impacts. Calibration of these estimates suggests that Mars may be many times more seismically active than the Moon.

  15. Compositional variability of the Martian surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, John B.; Smith, Milton O.

    1991-01-01

    Spectral reflectance data from Viking Landers and Orbiters and from telescopic observations were analyzed with the objective of isolating compositional information about the Martian surface and assessing compositional variability. Two approaches were used to calibrate the data to reflectance to permit direct comparisons with laboratory reference spectra of well characterized materials. In Viking Lander multispectral images (six spectral bands) most of the spectral variation is caused by changes in lighting geometry within individual scenes, from scene to scene, and over time. Lighting variations are both wavelength independent and wavelength dependent. By calibrating lander image radiance values to reflectance using spectral mixture analysis, the possible range of compositions was assessed with reference to a collection of laboratory samples, also resampled to the lander spectral bands. All spectra from the lander images studied plot (in six-space) within a planar triangle having at the apexes the respective spectra of tan basaltic palagonite, gray basalt, and shale. Within this plane all lander spectra fit as mixtures of these three endmembers. Reference spectra that plot outside of the triangle are unable to account for the spectral variation observed in the images.

  16. High-Capacity Communications from Martian Distances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, W. Dan; Collins, Michael; Hodges, Richard; Orr, Richard S.; Sands, O. Scott; Schuchman, Leonard; Vyas, Hemali

    2007-01-01

    High capacity communications from Martian distances, required for the envisioned human exploration and desirable for data-intensive science missions, is challenging. NASA s Deep Space Network currently requires large antennas to close RF telemetry links operating at kilobit-per-second data rates. To accommodate higher rate communications, NASA is considering means to achieve greater effective aperture at its ground stations. This report, focusing on the return link from Mars to Earth, demonstrates that without excessive research and development expenditure, operational Mars-to-Earth RF communications systems can achieve data rates up to 1 Gbps by 2020 using technology that today is at technology readiness level (TRL) 4-5. Advanced technology to achieve the needed increase in spacecraft power and transmit aperture is feasible at an only moderate increase in spacecraft mass and technology risk. In addition, both power-efficient, near-capacity coding and modulation and greater aperture from the DSN array will be required. In accord with these results and conclusions, investment in the following technologies is recommended:(1) lightweight (1 kg/sq m density) spacecraft antenna systems; (2) a Ka-band receive ground array consisting of relatively small (10-15 m) antennas; (3) coding and modulation technology that reduces spacecraft power by at least 3 dB; and (4) efficient generation of kilowatt-level spacecraft RF power.

  17. Determining the modal mineralogy of Martian soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSween, Harry Y.; McGlynn, Ian O.; Rogers, A. Deane

    2010-12-01

    A method for identifying the major and minor minerals and quantifying their proportions (by weight) in soils at the Mars Exploration Rovers landing sites is presented. The procedure utilizes modeled Mössbauer data for iron-bearing minerals, chemical calculations of Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer data for iron-absent minerals, and modeling of MiniTES thermal infrared spectra for silica and clays. Two models are formulated, using different assumptions about the mineralogy of sulfur and chlorine: sulfate + chloride, or incorporated in or adsorbed onto schwertmannite + akaganeite. The actual soil mineralogy may be bracketed by these results. Using either model, average dark soils on the Gusev crater plains and on Meridiani Planum are shown to be composed of a mixture of igneous (olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase, Fe-Ti-Cr spinels, phosphate) and alteration (amorphous silica, hematite, nanophase oxides, clays, plus sulfate + chloride or oxysulfate + oxychloride) minerals. This assemblage suggests that soil alteration did not occur in situ and that the igneous and alteration components were likely derived from different sources. The (model dependent) mixing ratio of igneous and alteration components is identical at the two sites on opposite sides of the planet, implying that Martian soils may provide a representative mineralogical sampling of the exposed crust.

  18. A Pb isotopic resolution to the Martian meteorite age paradox

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellucci, J. J.; Nemchin, A. A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Snape, J. F.; Kielman, R. B.; Bland, P. A.; Benedix, G. K.

    2016-01-01

    Determining the chronology and quantifying various geochemical reservoirs on planetary bodies is fundamental to understanding planetary accretion, differentiation, and global mass transfer. The Pb isotope compositions of individual minerals in the Martian meteorite Chassigny have been measured by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). These measurements indicate that Chassigny has mixed with a Martian reservoir that evolved with a long-term 238U/204Pb (μ) value ˜ two times higher than those inferred from studies of all other Martian meteorites except 4.428 Ga clasts in NWA7533. Any significant mixing between this and an unradiogenic reservoir produces ambiguous trends in Pb isotope variation diagrams. The trend defined by our new Chassigny data can be used to calculate a crystallization age for Chassigny of 4.526 ± 0.027 Ga (2σ) that is clearly in error as it conflicts with all other isotope systems, which yield a widely accepted age of 1.39 Ga. Similar, trends have also been observed in the Shergottites and have been used to calculate a >4 Ga age or, alternatively, attributed to terrestrial contamination. Our new Chassigny data, however, argue that the radiogenic component is Martian, mixing occurred on the surface of Mars, and is therefore likely present in virtually every Martian meteorite. The presence of this radiogenic reservoir on Mars resolves the paradox between Pb isotope data and all other radiogenic isotope systems in Martian meteorites. Importantly, Chassigny and the Shergottites are likely derived from the northern hemisphere of Mars, while NWA 7533 originated from the Southern hemisphere, implying that the U-rich reservoir, which most likely represents some form of crust, must be widespread. The significant age difference between SNC meteorites and NWA 7533 is also consistent with an absence of tectonic recycling throughout Martian history.

  19. The Pb isotopic evolution of the Martian mantle constrained by initial Pb in Martian meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellucci, J. J.; Nemchin, A. A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Snape, J. F.; Bland, P.; Benedix, G. K.

    2015-12-01

    The Pb isotopic compositions of maskelynite and pyroxene grains were measured in ALH84001 and three enriched shergottites (Zagami, Roberts Massif 04262, and Larkman Nunatuk 12011) by secondary ion mass spectrometry. A maskelynite-pyroxene isochron for ALH84001 defines a crystallization age of 4089 ± 73 Ma (2σ). The initial Pb isotopic composition of each meteorite was measured in multiple maskelynite grains. ALH84001 has the least radiogenic initial Pb isotopic composition of any Martian meteorite measured to date (i.e., 206Pb/204Pb = 10.07 ± 0.17, 2σ). Assuming an age of reservoir formation for ALH84001 and the enriched shergottites of 4513 Ma, a two-stage Pb isotopic model has been constructed. This model links ALH84001 and the enriched shergottites by their similar μ value (238U/204Pb) of 4.1-4.6 from 4.51 Ga to 4.1 Ga and 0.17 Ga, respectively. The model employed here is dependent on a chondritic μ value (~1.2) from 4567 to 4513 Ma, which implies that core segregation had little to no effect on the μ value(s) of the Martian mantle. The proposed Pb isotopic model here can be used to calculate ages that are in agreement with Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf, and Sm-Nd ages previously determined in the meteorites and confirm the young (~170 Ma) ages of the enriched shergottites and ancient, >4 Ga, age of ALH84001.

  20. Liquid Water in the Extremely Shallow Martian Subsurface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pavlov, A.; Shivak, J. N.

    2012-01-01

    Availability of liquid water is one of the major constraints for the potential Martian biosphere. Although liquid water is unstable on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressures, it has been suggested that liquid films of water could be present in the Martian soil. Here we explored a possibility of the liquid water formation in the extremely shallow (1-3 cm) subsurface layer under low atmospheric pressures (0.1-10 mbar) and low ("Martian") surface temperatures (approx.-50 C-0 C). We used a new Goddard Martian simulation chamber to demonstrate that even in the clean frozen soil with temperatures as low as -25C the amount of mobile water can reach several percents. We also showed that during brief periods of simulated daylight warming the shallow subsurface ice sublimates, the water vapor diffuses through porous surface layer of soil temporarily producing supersaturated conditions in the soil, which leads to the formation of additional liquid water. Our results suggest that despite cold temperatures and low atmospheric pressures, Martian soil just several cm below the surface can be habitable.

  1. Martian mud volcanism: Terrestrial analogs and implications for formational scenarios

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skinner, J.A., Jr.; Mazzini, A.

    2009-01-01

    The geology of Mars and the stratigraphic characteristics of its uppermost crust (mega-regolith) suggest that some of the pervasively-occurring pitted cones, mounds, and flows may have formed through processes akin to terrestrial mud volcanism. A comparison of terrestrial mud volcanism suggests that equivalent Martian processes likely required discrete sedimentary depocenters, volatile-enriched strata, buried rheological instabilities, and a mechanism of destabilization to initiate subsurface flow. We outline five formational scenarios whereby Martian mud volcanism might have occurred: (A) rapid deposition of sediments, (B) volcano-induced destabilization, (C) tectonic shortening, (D) long-term, load-induced subsidence, and (E) seismic shaking. We describe locations within and around the Martian northern plains that broadly fit the geological context of these scenarios and which contain mud volcano-like landforms. We compare terrestrial and Martian satellite images and examine the geological settings of mud volcano provinces on Earth in order to describe potential target areas for piercement structures on Mars. Our comparisons help to evaluate not only the role of water as a functional component of geological processes on Mars but also how Martian mud volcanoes could provide samples of otherwise inaccessible strata, some of which could contain astrobiological evidence.

  2. LU-HF Age of Martian Meteorite Larkman Nunatek 06319

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shafer, J. T.; Brandon, A. D.; Lapen, T. J.; Righter, M.; Beard, B.; Peslier, A. H.

    2009-01-01

    Lu-Hf isotopic data were collected on mineral separates and bulk rock powders of LAR 06319, yielding an age of 197+/- 29 Ma. Sm-Nd isotopic data and in-situ LA-ICP-MS data from a thin section of LAR 06319 are currently being collected and will be presented at the 2009 LPSC. These new data for LAR 06319 extend the existing data set for the enriched shergottite group. Martian meteorites represent the only opportunity for ground truth investigation of the geochemistry of Mars [1]. At present, approximately 80 meteorites have been classified as Martian based on young ages and distinctive isotopic signatures [2]. LAR 06319 is a newly discovered (as part of the 2006 ANSMET field season) martian meteorite that represents an important opportunity to further our understanding of the geochemical and petrological constraints on the origin of Martian magmas. Martian meteorites are traditionally categorized into the shergottite, nakhlite, and chassignite groups. The shergottites are further classified into three distinct isotopic groups designated depleted, intermediate, and enriched [3,4] based on the isotope systematics and compositions of their source(s).

  3. Capture of Solar Wind He++ by the Martian Exosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chanteur, G. M.; Modolo, R.; Dubinin, E.

    The quantity of helium in the Martian atmosphere can be estimated from its emission line at 58 4nm Krasnopolsky and Gladstone Icarus vol 176 395-407 2005 and references therein Considering the necessary balance between losses through escape to the interplanetary medium and sources Krasnopolsky and coworkers have established that radioactive decay of uranium and thorium provides only one third of the lost helium They argue that the remaining two thirds should be captured from the solar wind This external source of Martian helium was also suggested by Barabash et al JGR 100 A11 21307 1995 Brecht JGR 102 A6 11287 1997 has estimated the deposition of protons into the Martian atmosphere from 3d hybrid simulation of the interaction of Mars with a solar wind made of protons and electrons only From these results Brecht gave an estimate of the deposition of solar helium ions into the Martian atmosphere based on scaling arguments In the recent past we have developed a consistent multi-species 3d hybrid model of the interaction of solar wind protons and alpha particles with the Martian plasma environment taking into account the ionisation of the oxygen and hydrogen neutral coronas of Mars Modolo et al Ann Geophys 23 433 2005 Neutral species are ionised by photons and by electron impacts the two processes are simulated consistently and independently through the specification of ionisation frequencies and cross sections Charge exchange reactions of protons and oxygen ions with hydrogen and oxygen atoms are taken into account

  4. Water in Pyroxene and Olivine from Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peslier, A. H.

    2012-01-01

    Water in the interior of terrestrial planets can be dissolved in fluids or melts and hydrous phases, but can also be locked as protons attached to structural oxygen in lattice defects in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAM) like olivine, pyroxene, or feldspar [1-3]. Although these minerals contain only tens to hundreds of ppm H2O, this water can amount to at least one ocean in mass when added at planetary scales because of the modal dominance of NAM in the mantle and crust [4]. Moreover these trace amounts of water can have drastic effects on melting temperature, rheology, electrical and heat conductivity, and seismic wave attenuation [5]. There is presently a debate on how much water is present in the martian mantle. Secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) studies of NAM [6], amphiboles and glass in melt inclusions [7-10], and apatites [11, 12] from Martian meteorites report finding as much water as in the same phases from Earth's igneous rocks. Most martian hydrous minerals, however, generally have the relevant sites filled with Cl and F instead of H [13, 14], and experiments using Cl [15] in parent melts can reproduce Martian basalt compositions as well as those with water [16]. We are in the process of analyzing Martian meteorite minerals by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) in order to constrain the role of water in this planet s formation and magmatic evolution

  5. The Martian Radiation Environment from Orbit and on the Surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reedy, R. C.; Howe, S. D.

    1999-01-01

    A good knowledge of the Martian radiation environment and its interactions with Mars is needed for many reasons. It is needed to help unfold the results of the Mars-2001 orbiter's gamma-ray spectrometer (GRS) and neutron spectrometers (NS) to determine elemental abundances on the Martian surface. It is needed to interpret the measurements of the Martian Radiation Environment Experiments (MARIE) on both the Mars 2001 orbiter and lander. It is needed to calculate production rates of cosmogenic nuclides that will be measured in samples returned from Mars. It is needed to determine the doses that astronauts would receive in Martian orbit and especially on the surface of Mars. We discuss the two types of energetic particles in the vicinity of Mars and the nature of their interactions. Solar energetic particles (SEPs) occur very rarely but can have high fluxes that are dangerous in space. However, their energies are low enough that few solar energetic particles reach the surface of Mars. Their interactions can be fairly easily modeled because SEPs create few secondary particles. Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) have high energies and are the dominant source of energetic particles on the Martian surface, mainly secondary neutrons. Modeling their interactions is complicated because of the range of nuclei in the GCR and their high energies. Work at Los Alamos on GCR interactions will be presented.

  6. Analysis and survival of amino acids in Martian regolith analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garry, James R. C.; Loes Ten Kate, Inge; Martins, Zita; Nørnberg, Per; Ehrenfreund, Pascale

    2006-03-01

    We have investigated the native amino acid composition of two analogs of Martian soil, JSC Mars-1 and Salten Skov. A Mars simulation chamber has been built and used to expose samples of these analogs to temperature and lighting conditions similar to those found at low latitudes on the Martian surface. The effects of the simulated conditions have been examined using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Exposure to energetic ultraviolet (UV) light in vacuum appears to cause a modest increase in the concentration of certain amino acids within the materials, which is interpreted as resulting from the degradation of microorganisms. The influence of low temperatures shows that the accretion of condensed water on the soils leads to the destruction of amino acids, supporting the idea that reactive chemical processes involving H2O are at work within the Martian soil. We discuss the influence of UV radiation, low temperatures, and gaseous CO2 on the intrinsic amino acid composition of Martian soil analogs and describe, with the help of a simple model, how these studies fit within the framework of life detection on Mars and the practical tasks of choosing and using Martian regolith analogs in planetary research.

  7. Genetic implications of the shapes of martian and lunar craters

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pike, R.J.

    1971-01-01

    Craters on Mars and the Moon are alike in that larger craters differ in shape from smaller ones, and older craters differ in shape from younger ones. Smoothed depth-diameter curves for 41 large martian craters photographed by Mariner IV inflect at a crater diameter of 10-20km in a manner similar to curves for lunar craters. Below 10-20km, both depth-diameter curves are linear with a slope of roughly 1.0; above this threshold range, the curves assume a much lower slope. Diminution of lunar crater depth-diameter ratios with age indicates that the shapes of lunar and, by inference, martian craters have changed systematically since formation. Martian craters sampled here are shallower than most pre-Imbrian lunar craters. By analogy with the Moon, martian craters seem both to vary in initial shape according to the energy of the impact that formed them and to have been modified subsequently by endogenic and surface processes. A proposed model for the geologic development of large martian and lunar craters outlines a time- dependent sequence of events. Craters which have undergone rapid isostatic adjustment on the Moon have distinctive morphologies and occur preferentially along mare basin-upland margins. ?? 1972.

  8. Investigating the Martian Ionospheric Conductivity Using MAVEN Key Parameter Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aleryani, O.; Raftery, C. L.; Fillingim, M. O.; Fogle, A. L.; Dunn, P.; McFadden, J. P.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Ergun, R. E.; Andersson, L.

    2015-12-01

    Since the Viking orbiters and landers in 1976, the Martian atmospheric composition has scarcely been investigated. New data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission, launched in 2013, allows for a thorough study of the electrically conductive nature of the Martian ionosphere. Determinations of the electrical conductivity will be made using in-situ atmospheric and ionospheric measurements, rather than scientific models for the first time. The objective of this project is to calculate the conductivity of the Martian atmosphere, whenever possible, throughout the trajectory of the MAVEN spacecraft. MAVEN instrumentation used includes the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) for neutral species density, the Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Compositions (STATIC) for ion composition, temperature and density, the Magnetometer (MAG) for the magnetic field strength and the Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) for electron temperature and density. MAVEN key parameter data are used for these calculations. We compare our results with previous, model-based estimates of the conductivity. These results will allow us to quantify the flow of atmospheric electric currents which can be analyzed further for a deeper understanding of the Martian ionospheric electrodynamics, bringing us closer to understanding the mystery of the loss of the Martian atmosphere.

  9. Martian Analogue Samples, Their Spectroscopic Biosignatures, and Degradation by the Cosmic Radiation Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dartnell, L. R.

    2016-05-01

    Here we discuss the use of Raman and FTIR spectroscopy for the detection and characterisation of biosignatures in martian analogue samples, and their degradation by the cosmic ray environment in the martian near-subsurface.

  10. Experimental Study of Water Exchange Between Regolith and Atmosphere Under Martian Conditions: Thermodynamics and Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pommerol, A.; Schmitt, B.; Brissaud, O.

    2008-03-01

    We have designed a facility to measure near-infrared reflectance spectra of martian regolith analogs under martian surface temperature and humidity. We present adsorption isotherm and exchange kinetics between water and JSC Mars-1 regolith simulant.

  11. Martian Atmospheric and Ionospheric plasma Escape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundin, Rickard

    2016-04-01

    Solar forcing is responsible for the heating, ionization, photochemistry, and erosion processes in the upper atmosphere throughout the lifetime of the terrestrial planets. Of the four terrestrial planets, the Earth is the only one with a fully developed biosphere, while our kin Venus and Mars have evolved into arid inhabitable planets. As for Mars, there are ample evidences for an early Noachian, water rich period on Mars. The question is, what made Mars evolve so differently compared to the Earth? Various hydrosphere and atmospheric evolution scenarios for Mars have been forwarded based on surface morphology, chemical composition, simulations, semi-empiric (in-situ data) models, and the long-term evolution of the Sun. Progress has been made, but the case is still open regarding the changes that led to the present arid surface and tenuous atmosphere at Mars. This presentation addresses the long-term variability of the Sun, the solar forcing impact on the Martian atmosphere, and its interaction with the space environment - an electromagnetic wave and particle interaction with the upper atmosphere that has implications for its photochemistry, composition, and energization that governs thermal and non-thermal escape. Non-thermal escape implies an electromagnetic upward energization of planetary ions and molecules to velocities above escape velocity, a process governed by a combination of solar EUV radiation (ionization), and energy and momentum transfer by the solar wind. The ion escape issue dates back to the early Soviet and US-missions to Mars, but the first more accurate estimates of escape rates came with the Phobos-2 mission in 1989. Better-quality ion composition measurement results of atmospheric/ionospheric ion escape from Mars, obtained from ESA Mars Express (MEX) instruments, have improved our understanding of the ion escape mechanism. With the NASA MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars since Sept. 2014, dual in-situ measurement with plasma instruments are now

  12. Aqueous Alteration and Martian Bulk Chemical Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, J.; Boynton, W. V.; McLennan, S. M.

    2009-12-01

    The bulk compositions of the terrestrial planets are fundamentally important in testing models for planetary accretion. This is particularly true for the abundances of volatile elements. In the absence of direct samples of the mantle, we must rely on samples of surface materials obtained from orbit (specifically from the Mars Odyssey Gamma-Ray Spectrometer, GRS), Martian meteorites, and in situ analyses. Use of these databases requires understanding the processes that formed and modified the igneous rocks composing the crust; aqueous processes are particularly important. Halogens are useful elements for understanding Martian bulk composition and surface aqueous alteration. Here, we focus on Cl, which is an incompatible element during partial melting. Cosmochemically, Cl is a moderately volatile element with a condensation temperature of 948 Kelvin, only slightly below that of K (1006 Kelvin), another incompatible lithophile element. Cl is substantially lost during magma degassing at or near the surface, making it difficult to determine its abundances in the interior through analyses of rocks, leading to an underestimate of Cl abundance in bulk silicate Mars. GRS data for Mars between approximately 52 degrees north and south show that K and Cl are uncorrelated. This is not surprising as they fractionate easily by release of Cl-bearing gases from magmas near the surface and during eruptions, by aqueous alteration of surface materials, and by the large solubility of Cl salts in water. A positive correlation of Cl with H supports the role of water in Cl redistribution. In spite of the lack of correlation between K and Cl, the mean Cl/K ratio is roughly chondritic: 1.5 ±0.1 compared to 1.28 in CI chondrites. However, Cl appears to be enriched at least in the uppermost few tens of cm analyzed by the GRS: Cl correlates with both H and S, but a linear fit to the data shows a positive Cl intercept of about 0.3, which suggests a decoupling of Cl from S and H. Adjusting the

  13. Moessbauer Spectroscopy of Martian and Sverrefjell Carbonates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Agresti, David G.; Morris, Richard V.

    2011-01-01

    Mars, in its putative "warmer, wetter: early history, could have had a CO2 atmosphere much denser than its current value of <10 mbar. The question of where all this early CO2 has gone has long been debated. Now, several instruments on Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit, including its Moessbauer spectrometer MIMOS II, have identified Mg-Fe carbonate in rock outcrops at Comanche Spur in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater. With this finding, carbonate cements in volcanic breccia collected on Sverrefjell Volcano on Spitzbergen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago (Norway) during the AMASE project are mineralogical and possible process analogues of the newly discovered martian carbonate. We report further analyses of Mossbauer spectra from Comanche Spur and discuss their relationship to Mossbauer data acquired on Sverrefjell carbonates. The spectra were velocity calibrated with MERView and fit using MERFit. Instead of the "average temperature" Comanche spectrum (data from all temperature windows summed), we refit the Comanche data for QS within each temperature window, modeling as doublets for Fe2+(carbonate), Fe2+(olivine), and Fe3+(npOx). The temperature dependences of QS for the Comanche carbonate and for a low-Ca carbonate from Chocolate Pots in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) are shown; they are the same within error. For Comanche carbonate summed over 210-270 K, (CS, QS) = (1.23, 1.95) mm/s. The value of QS for Sverrefjell carbonate at 295 K, (CS, QS) = (1.25, 1.87) mm/s, is also plotted, and the plot shows that the QS for the Sverrefjell carbonate agrees within error with the Comanche data extrapolated to 295 K. This agreement is additional evidence that the Sverrefjell carbonates are Mossbauer analogues for the Comanche carbonates, and that both carbonates might have precipitated from solutions that became carbonate rich by passing through buried carbonate deposits.

  14. A lunar/Martian anchor emplacement system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clinton, Dustin; Holt, Andrew; Jantz, Erik; Kaufman, Teresa; Martin, James; Weber, Reed

    On the Moon or Mars, it is necessary to have an anchor, or a stable, fixed point able to support the forces necessary to rescue a stuck vehicle, act as a stake for a tent in a Martian gale, act as a fulcrum in the erection of general construction poles, or support tent-like regolith shields. The anchor emplacement system must be highly autonomous. It must supply the energy and stability for anchor deployment. The goal of the anchor emplacement system project is to design and build a prototype anchor and to design a conceptual anchor emplacement system. Various anchors were tested in a 1.3 cubic meter test bed containing decomposed granite. A simulated lunar soil was created by adjusting the moisture and compaction characteristics of the soil. We conducted tests on emplacement torque, amount of force the anchor could withstand before failure, anchor pull out force at various angles, and soil disturbances caused by placing the anchor. A single helix auger anchor performed best in this test bed based on energy to emplace, and the ultimate holding capacity. The anchor was optimized for ultimate holding capacity, minimum emplacement torque, and minimum soil disturbance in sandy soils yielding the following dimensions: helix diameter (4.45 cm), pitch (1.27 cm), blade thickness (0.15 cm), total length (35.56 cm), shaft diameter (0.78 cm), and a weight of 212.62 g. The experimental results showed that smaller diameter, single-helix augers held more force than larger diameter augers for a given depth. The emplacement system consists of a flywheel and a motor for power, sealed in a protective box supported by four legs. The flywheel system was chosen over a gear system based on its increased reliability in the lunar environment.

  15. Hydrated Minerals in the Martian Southern Highlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wray, James J.; Seelos, F. P.; Murchie, S. L.; Squyres, S. W.

    2008-09-01

    Hydrated minerals including sulfates, phyllosilicates, and hydrated silica have been observed on the surface of Mars by the orbital near-infrared spectrometers OMEGA and CRISM [1,2]. Global maps from OMEGA [3,4] show that km-scale and larger exposures of these minerals are scattered widely throughout the planet's low and mid latitudes, but are relatively rare. Yet CRISM has found hundreds to thousands of Fe/Mg-phyllosilicate exposures in the highlands of Terra Tyrrhena alone [2], suggesting that smaller exposures may be much more common. To search for such exposures, we have surveyed the browse products from all PDS-released CRISM targeted observations (as of July 2008) across a large fraction of the Southern highlands, including the Noachis, Cimmeria, and Sirenum regions. Sulfates are observed in Noachian-aged terrains in each of these regions, including as far South as -63º latitude, suggesting that sulfate formation may have occurred locally or regionally throughout a large fraction of Martian history. Some of our strongest phyllosilicate detections occur adjacent to inferred chloride-bearing deposits [5] in Terra Sirenum. Also in Sirenum, the D 100 km Columbus crater contains light-toned, hydrated sulfate-bearing layers overlying materials that contain both a kaolin group clay and Fe/Mg-smectite clay, in different locations. However, phyllosilicates do not appear predominantly associated with impact craters in the regions surveyed, in contrast with Terra Tyrrhena [2]. We are currently searching for additional hydrated mineral exposures using CRISM multispectral data, providing further detail on their global distribution and identifying local areas of interest for future focused studies. [1] Bibring, J.-P. et al. (2005) Science 307, 1576-1581. [2] Mustard, J. F. et al. (2008) Nature 454, 305-309. [3] Bibring, J.-P. et al. (2006) Science 312, 400-404. [4] Poulet, F. et al. (2007) Mars 7, Abs. #3170. [5] Osterloo M. M. et al. (2008) Science 319, 1651-1654.

  16. Noachian Martian Volcanics a Water Source

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Glaze, L. S.; Baloga, S. M.; Fonda, Mark (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    H2O was supplied to the Noachian atmosphere by eruptions, or in association with large impacts. Most water outgassed into an extremely cold atmosphere, and condensate deposits were inevitable. High heat flow could lead to subglacial melting only if ice thicknesses were greater than 500-1000m, which is extremely unlikely. Subareal melting and flow is contingent upon temperatures periodically exceeding 273 K, and retarding evaporative loss of the flow. In still air, evaporation into a dry atmosphere is in the free convection regime, and a stream with 2 cu m/s discharge, flowing 1 m/s could persist for hundreds of days and cover distances greater than any valley reach. The zero-wind-shear condition is considered implausible however. We investigate the possibility that evaporation rates were suppressed because the atmosphere was regionally charged with H2O as it moved over snow/ice fields. Our initial concern is precipitation from volcanic plumes. A Kilauea-style eruption on the martian surface would cover a 10km circular deposit with 10cm of H2O, if all H2O could be precipitated near the vent. The characteristics of the eruption at the vent, (vent size, temperature, H2O content, etc.) are independent of the environmental conditions. The subsequent behavior of the plume, including precipitation of ash and H2O condensate depends strongly on the environment. Hence, the proximal fate of volcanic H2O is amenable to treatment in a model. A simple bulk thermodynamic model of the rise of an H2O plume through a stably stratified CO2 atmosphere, with only adiabatic cooling, produces runaway plume rise. A more complex treatment includes the effects of latent heat release, wind shear along the plume, divergence of ash and H2O, and will yield more realistic estimates of H2O transport in eruptive plumes. Results of these simulations will be presented.

  17. Martian Sedimentary Basins and Central Mound Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bennett, K. A.; Bell, J. F., III

    2014-12-01

    Central mounds on Mars are observed as sedimentary deposits within crater interiors, but the specific processes responsible for their formation and subsequent modification are still debated. The deposits are hypothesized to have been created by either subaerial or subaqueous processes through one of two general formation mechanisms. The prevailing hypothesis suggests that after their craters were formed, sediment filled the entire crater and was later eroded into the morphologies we observe today. Alternatively, the sediment could have been deposited as the features we observe today without any significant erosion contributing to their mound shape. We conducted a survey of central mounds that occur within craters larger than 25 km in diameter located between ± 60° latitude on Mars. We use mound locations, mound offsets within their host craters, and mound heights to address various mound formation hypotheses. The results of this survey support the hypothesis that mound sediment once filled the entire host crater and was later eroded into the features we observe today. We propose that large Martian impact craters act as simplistic sedimentary basins. These basins "catch" any sediment that is being transported through the region. Any geologic process that involves transport of material (airfall dust, explosive volcanism, impact ejecta, etc.) could have contributed to the growth of this sediment fill, although the dominant process could vary based on location. During this depositional phase, several processes (ice/frost, water, etc.) could have cemented the material; then, at some point, the environment changed from depositional to erosional, leading to the formation of isolated mounds of sediment within these craters. Our study reveals that most mounds are offset from the center of their host crater in the same direction as the regional winds. For example, the mounds in Arabia Terra are offset towards the western portion of their craters. This observation is

  18. Cold Ion Escape from the Martian Ionosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fränz, Markus; Dubinin, Eduard; Andrews, David; Nilsson, Hans; Fedorov, Andrei

    2014-05-01

    It has always been challenging to observe the flux of ions with energies of less than 10eV escaping from the planetary ionospheres. We here report on new measurements of the ionospheric ion flows at Mars by the ASPERA-3 experiment on board Mars Express. The ion sensor IMA of this experiment has in principle a low-energy cut-off at 10eV but in negative spacecraft charging cold ions are lifted into the range of measurement but the field of view is restricted to about 4x360 deg. In a recent paper Nilsson et al. (Earth Planets Space, 64, 135, 2012) tried to use the method of long-time averaged distribution functions to overcome these constraints. In this paper we first use the same method to show that we get results consistent with this when using ASPERA-3 observations only. But then we can show that these results are inconsistent with observations of the local plasma density by the MARSIS radar instrument on board Mars Express. We demonstrate that the method of averaged distribution function can deliver the mean flow speed of the plasma but the low-energy cut-off does usually not allow to reconstruct the density. We then combine measurements of the cold ion flow speed with the plasma density observations of MARSIS to derive the cold ion flux. In an analysis of the combined nightside datasets we show that the main escape channel is along the shadow boundary on the tailside of Mars. At a distance of about 0.5 Martian radii the flux settles at a constant value which indicates that about half of the transterminator ionospheric flow escapes from the planet. Possible mechanism to generate this flux can be the ionospheric pressure gradient between dayside and nightside or momentum transfer from the solar wind via the induced magnetic field since the flow velocity is in the Alfvénic regime.

  19. The origin of the Martian moons revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenblatt, Pascal

    2011-08-01

    The origin of the Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, is still an open issue: either they are asteroids captured by Mars or they formed in situ from a circum-Mars debris disk. The capture scenario mainly relies on the remote-sensing observations of their surfaces, which suggest that the moon material is similar to outer-belt asteroid material. This scenario, however, requires high tidal dissipation rates inside the moons to account for their current orbits around Mars. Although the in situ formation scenarios have not been studied in great details, no observational constraints argue against them. Little attention has been paid to the internal structure of the moons, yet it is pertinent for explaining their origin. The low density of the moons indicates that their interior contains significant amounts of porous material and/or water ice. The porous content is estimated to be in the range of 30-60% of the volume for both moons. This high porosity enhances the tidal dissipation rate but not sufficiently to meet the requirement of the capture scenario. On the other hand, a large porosity is a natural consequence of re-accretion of debris at Mars' orbit, thus providing support to the in situ formation scenarios. The low density also allows for abundant water ice inside the moons, which might significantly increase the tidal dissipation rate in their interiors, possibly to a sufficient level for the capture scenario. Precise measurements of the rotation and gravity field of the moons are needed to tightly constrain their internal structure in order to help answering the question of the origin.

  20. A Bootstrap Approach to Martian Manufacturing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dorais, Gregory A.

    2004-01-01

    In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is an essential element of any affordable strategy for a sustained human presence on Mars. Ideally, Martian habitats would be extremely massive to allow plenty of room to comfortably live and work, as well as to protect the occupants from the environment. Moreover, transportation and power generation systems would also require significant mass if affordable. For our approach to ISRU, we use the industrialization of the U.S. as a metaphor. The 19th century started with small blacksmith shops and ended with massive steel mills primarily accomplished by blacksmiths increasing their production capacity and product size to create larger shops, which produced small mills, which produced the large steel mills that industrialized the country. Most of the mass of a steel mill is comprised of steel in simple shapes, which are produced and repaired with few pieces of equipment also mostly made of steel in basic shapes. Due to this simplicity, we expect that the 19th century manufacturing growth can be repeated on Mars in the 21st century using robots as the primary labor force. We suggest a "bootstrap" approach to manufacturing on Mars that uses a "seed" manufacturing system that uses regolith to create major structural components and spare parts. The regolith would be melted, foamed, and sintered as needed to fabricate parts using casting and solid freeform fabrication techniques. Complex components, such as electronics, would be brought from Earth and integrated as needed. These parts would be assembled to create additional manufacturing systems, which can be both more capable and higher capacity. These subsequent manufacturing systems could refine vast amounts of raw materials to create large components, as well as assemble equipment, habitats, pressure vessels, cranes, pipelines, railways, trains, power generation stations, and other facilities needed to economically maintain a sustained human presence on Mars.

  1. Morphogenesis of Antarctic Paleosols: Martian Analogue

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahaney, W. C.; Dohm, J. M.; Baker, V. R.; Newsom, Horton E.; Malloch, D.; Hancock, R. G. V.; Campbell, Iain; Sheppard, D.; Milner, M. W.

    2001-11-01

    Samples of horizons in paleosols from the Quartermain Mountains of the Antarctic Dry Valleys (Aztec and New Mountain areas) were analyzed for their physical characteristics, mineralogy, chemical composition, and microbiology to determine the accumulation and movement of salts and other soluble constituents and the presence/absence of microbial populations. Salt concentrations are of special interest because they are considered to be a function of age, derived over time, in part from nearby oceanic and high-altitude atmospheric sources. The chemical composition of ancient Miocene-age paleosols in these areas is the direct result of the deposition and weathering of airborne-influxed salts and other materials, as well as the weathering of till derived principally from local dolerite and sandstone outcrops. Paleosols nearer the coast have greater contents of Cl, whereas near the inland ice sheet, nitrogen tends to increase on a relative basis. The accumulation and vertical distribution of salts and other soluble chemical elements indicate relative amounts of movement in the profile over long periods of time, in the order of several million years. Four of the six selected subsamples from paleosol horizons in two ancient soil profiles contained nil concentrations of bacteria and fungi. However, two horizons at depths of between 3 and 8 cm, in two profiles, yielded several colonies of the fungi Beauveria bassiana and Penicillium brevicompactum, indicating very minor input of organic carbon. Beauveria bassiana is often reported in association with insects and is used commercially for the biological control of some insect pests. Penicillium species are commonly isolated from Arctic, temperate, and tropical soils and are known to utilize a wide variety of organic carbon and nitrogen compounds. The cold, dry soils of the Antarctic bear a close resemblance to various present and past martian environments where similar weathering could occur and possible microbial populations

  2. A lunar/Martian anchor emplacement system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clinton, Dustin; Holt, Andrew; Jantz, Erik; Kaufman, Teresa; Martin, James; Weber, Reed

    1993-01-01

    On the Moon or Mars, it is necessary to have an anchor, or a stable, fixed point able to support the forces necessary to rescue a stuck vehicle, act as a stake for a tent in a Martian gale, act as a fulcrum in the erection of general construction poles, or support tent-like regolith shields. The anchor emplacement system must be highly autonomous. It must supply the energy and stability for anchor deployment. The goal of the anchor emplacement system project is to design and build a prototype anchor and to design a conceptual anchor emplacement system. Various anchors were tested in a 1.3 cubic meter test bed containing decomposed granite. A simulated lunar soil was created by adjusting the moisture and compaction characteristics of the soil. We conducted tests on emplacement torque, amount of force the anchor could withstand before failure, anchor pull out force at various angles, and soil disturbances caused by placing the anchor. A single helix auger anchor performed best in this test bed based on energy to emplace, and the ultimate holding capacity. The anchor was optimized for ultimate holding capacity, minimum emplacement torque, and minimum soil disturbance in sandy soils yielding the following dimensions: helix diameter (4.45 cm), pitch (1.27 cm), blade thickness (0.15 cm), total length (35.56 cm), shaft diameter (0.78 cm), and a weight of 212.62 g. The experimental results showed that smaller diameter, single-helix augers held more force than larger diameter augers for a given depth. The emplacement system consists of a flywheel and a motor for power, sealed in a protective box supported by four legs. The flywheel system was chosen over a gear system based on its increased reliability in the lunar environment.

  3. Superoxide Radical Lifetime on the Martian Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zent, A. P.; Ichimura, A.; Quinn, R. C.

    2005-08-01

    We have examined the formation and stability of the superoxide radical O2-, which has been hypothesized as a potential Mars oxidant. Rutile (TiO2) was heated to ˜ 400 degrees C under vacuum. The samples were tipped off in ampules under 8-9 torr O2, photolyzed with a Hg lamp for 30 minutes; EPR spectra were immediately obtained at 77K. The signature of O2- was clearly observed in the rutile. The sealed ampules were stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks without any decrease in the number of spins. The same process, applied to rutile that was not baked out yielded superoxide signals that could not be detected once the photolyzing flux was cut off. To examine the effects of partial dehydration, we carried out the same series of experiments on rutile that was baked out at 200 degrees C. This material showed decay of superoxide spins to zero in less than 10 minutes. This qualitative pattern is also observed in experiments on anatase (Attwood, et al., , 2003). We hypothesize that O2- can be stabilized against reaction with H2O and OH by crystalline surface defects. On hydrated surfaces, O2- must compete for stabilizing sites, and the population is quickly extinguished; in dehydrated samples, it can migrate to stabilizing defects. Once sorbed, the O2- radical is stable in the presence of H2O. OMEGA Mars Express data (Poullet et al, 2005) suggest one to several percent adsorbed H2O across the Martian surface, which will significantly decrease O2- lifetime. One possibility for subsurface stabilization of O2- can be postulated based on EPR spectra of anatase, exposed to H2O2 in our lab in 1996, and which in 2005 shows the signature of O2-. Evidently, H2O2 can convert to stable O2- on some surfaces. This hypothesis might allow subsurface diffusion of H2O2, followed by conversion to O2-.

  4. Martian Arctic Dust Devil, Phoenix Sol 104

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    The Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander caught this dust devil in action west-southwest of the lander at 11:16 a.m. local Mars time on Sol 104, or the 104th Martian day of the mission, Sept. 9, 2008.

    Dust devils have not been detected in any Phoenix images from earlier in the mission, but at least six were observed in a dozen images taken on Sol 104.

    Dust devils are whirlwinds that often occur when the Sun heats the surface of Mars, or some areas on Earth. The warmed surface heats the layer of atmosphere closest to it, and the warm air rises in a whirling motion, stirring dust up from the surface like a miniature tornado.

    The dust devil visible in the center of this image just below the horizon is estimated to be about 400 meters (about 1,300 feet) from Phoenix, and 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter. It is much smaller than dust devils that have been observed by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit much closer to the equator. It is closer in size to dust devils seen from orbit in the Phoenix landing region, though still smaller than those.

    The image has been enhanced to make the dust devil easier to see.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  5. A strong seasonal dependence in the Martian hydrogen exosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhattacharyya, Dolon; Clarke, John T.; Bertaux, Jean-Loup; Chaufray, Jean-Yves; Mayyasi, Majd

    2015-10-01

    Hubble Space Telescope and Mars Express observed unexpected rapid changes in the Martian hydrogen exosphere involving a decrease in scattered Lyman α intensity in fall 2007 (solar longitude, Ls = 331°-345°). These changes detected were speculated to be a combination of seasonal variation and/or dust storms and lower atmospheric dynamics. Here we present Hubble Space Telescope observations of Mars in 2014 over a broad range of heliocentric distances and seasons (Ls = 138°-232°) which indicate a factor of ~3.5 change in Martian Lyman α brightness associated with a factor of ~5.4 variation of hydrogen escape flux in the absence of global dust storms and significant solar variability. We thus conclude that seasonal effects have a strong influence on the hydrogen exosphere, which in turn has major implications for the processes that control water supply to the Martian upper atmosphere and the history of water escape from Mars.

  6. Compression of Martian atmosphere for production of oxygen

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lynch, D. C.; Cutler, A. H.; Nolan, P. E.

    1991-01-01

    The compression of CO2 from the Martian atmosphere for production of O2 via an electrochemical cell is addressed. Design specifications call for an oxygen production rate of 10 kg per day and for compression of 50 times that mass of CO2. Those specifications require a compression rate of over 770 cfm at standard Martian temperature and pressure (SMTP). Much of the CO2 being compressed represents waste, unless it can be recycled. Recycling can reduce the volume of gas that must be compressed to 40 cfm at SMTP. That volume reduction represents significant mass savings in the compressor, heating equipment, filters, and energy source. Successful recycle of the gas requires separation of CO (produced in the electrochemical cell) from CO2, N2, and Ar found in the Martian atmosphere. That aspect was the focus of this work.

  7. Pre-Global Surveyor evidence for Martian ground water

    PubMed Central

    Donahue, Thomas M.

    2001-01-01

    A time-dependent theory for the evolution of water on Mars is presented. Using this theory and invoking a large number of observational constraints, I argue that these constraints require that a large reservoir of water exists in the Martian crust at depths shallow enough to interact strongly with the atmosphere. The constraints include the abundance of atmospheric water vapor, escape fluxes of hydrogen and deuterium, D/H ratios in the atmosphere and in hydrous minerals found in one Martian meteorite, alteration of minerals in other meteorites, and fluvial features on the Martian surface. These results are consonant with visual evidence for recent groundwater seepage obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor satellite. PMID:11158555

  8. Pre-global surveyor evidence for Martian ground water.

    PubMed

    Donahue, T M

    2001-01-30

    A time-dependent theory for the evolution of water on Mars is presented. Using this theory and invoking a large number of observational constraints, I argue that these constraints require that a large reservoir of water exists in the Martian crust at depths shallow enough to interact strongly with the atmosphere. The constraints include the abundance of atmospheric water vapor, escape fluxes of hydrogen and deuterium, D/H ratios in the atmosphere and in hydrous minerals found in one Martian meteorite, alteration of minerals in other meteorites, and fluvial features on the Martian surface. These results are consonant with visual evidence for recent groundwater seepage obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor satellite. PMID:11158555

  9. On the original igneous source of Martian fines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baird, A. K.; Clark, B. C.

    1981-01-01

    The composition of the silicate portion of Martian regolith fines indicates derivation of the fines from mafic to ultramafic rocks, probably rich in pyroxene. Rock types similar in chemical and mineralogical composition include terrestrial Archean basalts and certain achondrite meteorites. If these igneous rocks weathered nearly isochemically, the nontronitic clays proposed earlier as an analog to Martian fines could be formed. Flood basalts of pyroxenitic lavas may be widespread and characteristic of early volcanism on Mars, analogous to maria flood basalts on the moon and early Precambrian basaltic komatiites on earth. Compositional differences between lunar, terrestrial, and Martian flood basalts may be related to differences in planetary sizes and mantle compositions of the respective planetary objects.

  10. Triboelectric Charging of an Insulator's Surface Using Martian Soil Simulant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mantovani, J. G.; Calle, C. I.; Groop, E. E.; Buehler, M. G.

    2000-11-01

    We have investigated the simultaneous triboelectric charging of five types of insulating materials under identical conditions using frictional contact with Martian soil simulant (JSC Mars-1). The insulators studied were fiberglass/epoxy, polycarbonate, teflon, Rulon J, and polymethylmethacrylate. The amount of electric charge that developed on each insulator's surface was measured simultaneously by five independent electrometer circuits contained in the Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) electrometer. This is a flight instrument designed at JPL and NASA Kennedy Space Center for a future robotic lander mission of the Martian surface. We will describe the proposed robotic operation of the MECA electrometer on Mars, and will present data that was taken with the electrometer at NASA KSC using Martian soil simulant at room temperature inside a vacuum chamber containing a CO2 atmosphere at a pressure of 7 Torr.

  11. SNC meteorites and their implications for reservoirs of Martian volatiles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    1993-01-01

    The SNC meteorites and the measurements of the Viking landers provide our only direct information about the abundance and isotopic composition of Martian volatiles. Indirect measurements include spectroscopic determinations of the D/H ratio of the Martian atmosphere. A personal view of volatile element reservoirs on Mars is presented, largely as inferred from the meteoritic evidence. This view is that the Martian mantle has had several opportunities for dehydration and is most likely dry, although not completely degassed. Consequently, the water contained in SNC meteorites was most likely incorporated during ascent through the crust. Thus, it is possible that water can be decoupled from other volatile/incompatible elements, making the SNC meteorites suspect as indicators of water inventories on Mars.

  12. Organic Compounds in Martian Meteorites May Be Terrestrial Contaminants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jull, A. J. T.

    1998-02-01

    In 1996, David McKay and coworkers reported evidence suggesting the possibility of fossils in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 (see PSRD article "Life on Mars"). This work has stimulated much discussion as to the nature and origin of organic material in ALH84001, another Martian meteorite, EET79001, and other Martian meteorites in general. My colleagues C. Courtney, D. A. Jeffrey, and J. W. Beck and I have been investigating the origin of the organic compounds by measuring the abundances of the isotopes of carbon (C) using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Important clues to the origin of the organic material can be obtained from the amounts of 14C (frequently nicknamed radiocarbon) and the relative amounts of 13C and 12C. Our analyses indicate that at least 80% of the organic material in ALH84001 is from Earth, not Mars, casting doubt on the hypothesis the meteorite contains a record of fossil life on Mars.

  13. Helium in the Martian atmosphere - Thermal loss considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Levine, J. S.; Keating, G. M.; Prior, E. J.

    1974-01-01

    Helium concentrations in the Martian atmosphere are estimated assuming that the helium production on Mars (comparable to its production on earth) via the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium is in steady state equilibrium with its thermal escape. Although nonthermal losses would tend to reduce the estimated concentrations, these concentrations are not necessarily an upper limit since higher production rates and/or a possibly lower effective exospheric temperature over the solar activity cycle could increase them to even higher values. The computed helium concentration at the Martian exobase (200 km) is 8 million atoms/cu cm. Through the lower exosphere, the computed helium concentrations are 30-200 times greater than the Mariner-measured atomic hydrogen concentrations. It follows that helium may be the predominant constituent in the Martian lower exosphere and may well control the orbital lifetime of Mars-orbiting spacecraft.

  14. Iron Redox Systematics of Shergottites and Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Righter, Kevin; Danielson, L. R.; Martin, A. M.; Newville, M.; Choi, Y.

    2010-01-01

    Martian meteorites record a range of oxygen fugacities from near the IW buffer to above FMQ buffer [1]. In terrestrial magmas, Fe(3+)/ SigmaFe for this fO2 range are between 0 and 0.25 [2]. Such variation will affect the stability of oxides, pyroxenes, and how the melt equilibrates with volatile species. An understanding of the variation of Fe(3+)/SigmaFe for martian magmas is lacking, and previous work has been on FeO-poor and Al2O3-rich terrestrial basalts. We have initiated a study of the iron redox systematics of martian magmas to better understand FeO and Fe2O3 stability, the stability of magnetite, and the low Ca/high Ca pyroxene [3] ratios observed at the surface.

  15. Mars-relevant phosphate minerals and implications for Martian habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adcock, Christopher T.

    This dissertation is comprised of three studies focused on martian phosphate availability, with an introductory chapter introducing and linking the three studies. Chapter two is on the subject of merrillite synthesis. Merrillite is an extraterrestrial Ca-phosphate mineral similar to the mineral whitlockite and is found as a dominant primary phosphate mineral in martian meteorites. The chapter includes methods of whitlockite and merrillite synthesis as well as a detailed characterization of the produced minerals and a mechanism by which charge balance can be maintained when merrillite is synthesized through dehydrogenation of whitlockite. Chapter three presents the results of kinetic and thermodynamic studies on the Mars-relevant minerals chlorapatite and merrillite, as well as the more terrestrially-relevant minerals whitlockite and fluorapatite. The results of these studies indicate that the dominant primary Ca-phosphate minerals on Mars possess higher solubilities that could lead to more than twice the phosphate concentration in solution. Dissolution rates for the Mars-relevant minerals derived in the study, when combined with the higher martian phosphorus abundance, could result in phosphate release rates of up to 45x faster for a given set of aqueous conditions on Mars when compared to Earth. The implications of the results for past or present martian habitability are discussed. In Chapter four, reactive transport modeling was applied to investigate the transport and mobility of phosphate under martian conditions. The kinetic and thermodynamic data derived in Chapter three were combined with Mars mission data, results from an investigation of Mars analog basalts at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and previously published data to inform a reactive transport code and model dissolution profiles measured by Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit in Wishstone class rocks. The modeling results suggest phosphate release into near-neutral waters occurred

  16. Earth-Mars similarity criteria for exploring martian vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savu, G.

    2003-11-01

    In order to select the most efficient kind of a martian exploring vehicle, the similarity criteria are deduced from the equilibrium movement in the terrestrial and martian conditions. Different invariants have been obtained for the existing (entry capsules, parachutes and rovers) and potential martian exploring vehicles (lighter-than-air vehicle, airplane, helicopter and Mars Jumper). These similarity criteria, as non dimensional numbers, allow to quickly compare if such a kind of vehicles can operate in the martian environment, the movement performances, the necessary geometrical dimensions and the power consumption. Following this way of study it was concluded what vehicle is most suitable for the near soil Mars exploration. "Mars Rover" has less power consumption on Mars, but due to the rugged terrain the performances are weak. A vacuumed rigid airship is possible to fly with high performances and endurance on Mars, versus the impossibility of such a machine on the Earth. Due to very low density and the low Reynolds numbers in the Mars atmosphere, the power consumption for the martian airplane or helicopter, is substantial higher. The most efficient vehicle for the Mars exploration it seems to be a machine using the in-situ non-chemical propellants: the 95% CO2 atmosphere and the weak solar radiation. A small compressor, electrically driven by photovoltaics, compresses the gas in a storage tank, in time. If the gas is expanded through a nozzle, sufficient lift and control forces are obtained for a VTOL flight of kilometers over the martian soil, in comparison with tens of meters of the actual Mars rovers.

  17. Earth Mars similarity criteria for exploring martian vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savu, G.

    2006-10-01

    In order to select the most efficient kind of a martian exploring vehicle, the similarity criteria are deduced from the equilibrium movement in the terrestrial and martian conditions. Different invariants have been obtained for the existing (entry capsules, parachutes and rovers) and potential martian exploring vehicles (lighter-than-air vehicle, airplane, helicopter and Mars Jumper). These similarity criteria, as non-dimensional numbers, allow to quickly compare if such kind of vehicles can operate in the martian environment, the movement performances, the necessary geometrical dimensions and the power consumption. Following this way of study it was concluded what vehicle is most suitable for the near soil Mars exploration. “Mars Rover” has less power consumption on Mars, but due to the rugged terrain the performances are weak. A vacuumed rigid airship is possible to fly with high performances and endurance on Mars, versus the impossibility of such a machine on the Earth. Due to very low density and the low Reynolds numbers in the Mars atmosphere, the power consumption for the martian airplane or helicopter is substantially higher. The most efficient vehicle for the Mars exploration seems to be a machine using the in situ non-chemical propellants: the 95% CO2 atmosphere and the weak solar radiation. A small compressor, electrically driven by photovoltaics, compresses the gas in a storage tank, in time. If the gas is expanded through a nozzle, sufficient lift and control forces are obtained for a VTOL flight of kilometers over the martian soil, in comparison with tens of meters of the actual Mars rovers.

  18. Shergottite Impact Melt Glasses Contain Soil from Martian Uplands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; McKay, D. S.

    2002-01-01

    Martian meteorite (shergottite) impact melt glasses that contain high concentrations of martian atmospheric noble gases and show significant variations in Sr-87/Sr-86 isotopic ratios are likely to contain Martian surface fines mixed with coarser regolith materials. The mixed soil constituents were molten due to shock at the time of meteoroid impact near the Martian surface and the molten glass got incorporated into the voids and cracks in some shergottite meteorites. Earlier, Rao et al. found large enrichments of sulfur (sulfate) during an electron-microprobe study of several impact melt glass veins and pods in EET79001,LithC thin sections. As sulfur is very abundant in Martian soil, these S excesses were attributed to the mixing of a soil component containing aqueously altered secondary minerals with the LithC precursor materials prior to impact melt generation. Recently, we studied additional impact melt glasses in two basaltic shergottites, Zagami and Shergotty using procedures similar to those described. Significant S enrichments in Zagami and Shergotty impact melt glass veins similar to the EET79001, LithC glasses were found. In addition, we noticed the depletion of the mafic component accompanied by the enrichment of felsic component in these impact melt glass veins relative to the bulk host rock in the shergottites. To explain these observations, we present a model based on comminution of basaltic rocks due to meteoroid bombardment on martian regolith and mechanical fractionation leading to enrichment of felsics and depletion of mafics in the fine grained dust which is locally mobilized as a result of saltation and deflation due to the pervasive aeolian activity on Mars.

  19. Shergottite Impact Melt Glasses Contain Soil from Martian Uplands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; McKay, D. S.

    2002-01-01

    Martian meteorite (shergottite) impact melt glasses that contain high concentrations of martian atmospheric noble gases and show significant variations in Sr-87/Sr-86 isotopic ratios are likely to contain Martian surface fines mixed with coarser regolith materials. The mixed soil constituents were molten due to shock at the time of meteoroid impact near the Martian surface and the molten glass got incorporated into the voids and cracks in some shergottite meteorites. Earlier, Rao et al. found large enrichments of sulfur (sulfate) during an electron-microprobe study of several impact melt glass veins and pods in EET79001,LithC thin sections. As sulfur is very abundant in Martian soil, these S excesses were attributed to the mixing of a soil component containing aqueously altered secondary minerals with the LithC precursor materials prior to impact melt generation. Recently, we studied additional impact melt glasses in two basaltic shergottites, Zagami and Shergotty using procedures similar to those described by Rao et al. Significant S enrichments in Zagami and Shergotty impact melt glass veins similar to the EET79001, LithC glasses were found. In addition, we noticed the depletion of the mafic component accompanied by the enrichment of felsic component in these impact melt glass veins relative to the bulk host rock in the shergottites. To explain these observations, we present a model based on comminution of basaltic rocks due to meteroid bombardment on martian regolith and mechanical fractionation leading to enrichment of felsics and depletion of mafics in the fine grained dust which is locally mobilized as a result of saltation and deflation due to the pervasive aeolian activity on Mars.

  20. Germination and growth of wheat in simulated Martian atmospheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwartzkopf, Steven H.; Mancinelli, Rocco L.

    1991-01-01

    One design for a manned Mars base incorporates a bioregenerative life support system based upon growing higher plants at a low atmospheric pressure in a greenhouse on the Martian surface. To determine the concept's feasibility, the germination and initial growth of wheat (Triticum aestivum) was evaluated at low atmospheric pressures in simulated Martian atmosphere (SMA) and in SMA supplemented with oxygen. Total atmospheric pressures ranged from 10 to 1013 mb. No seeds germinated in pure SMA, regardless of atmospheric pressure. In SMA plus oxygen at 60 mb total pressure, germination and growth occurred but were lower than in the earth atmosphere controls.

  1. Martian weathering processes: Terrestrial analog and theoretical modeling studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McAdam, Amy Catherine

    2008-06-01

    Understanding the role of water in the Martian near-surface, and its implications for possible habitable environments, is among the highest priorities of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. Characterization of alteration signatures in surface materials provides the best opportunity to assess the role of water on Mars. This dissertation investigates Martian alteration processes through analyses of Antarctic analogs and numerical modeling of mineral-fluid interactions. Analog work involved studying an Antarctic diabase, and associated soils, as Mars analogs to understand weathering processes in cold, dry environments. The soils are dominated by primary basaltic minerals, but also contain phyllosilicates, salts, iron oxides/oxyhydroxides, and zeolites. Soil clay minerals and zeolites, formed primarily during deuteric or hydrothermal alteration of the parent rock, were subsequently transferred to the soil by physical rock weathering. Authigenic soil iron oxides/oxyhydroxides and small amounts of poorly-ordered secondary silicates indicate some contributions from low-temperature aqueous weathering. Soil sulfates, which exhibit a sulfate- aerosol-derived mass-independent oxygen isotope signature, suggest contributions from acid aerosol-rock interactions. The complex alteration history of the Antarctic materials resulted in several similarities to Martian materials. The processes that affected the analogs, including deuteric/ hydrothermal clay formation, may be important in producing Martian surface materials. Theoretical modeling focused on investigating the alteration of Martian rocks under acidic conditions and using modeling results to interpret Martian observations. Kinetic modeling of the dissolution of plagioclase-pyroxene mineral mixtures under acidic conditions suggested that surfaces with high plagioclase/pyroxene, such as several northern regions, could have experienced some preferential dissolution of pyroxenes at a pH less than approximately 3-4. Modeling of the

  2. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays - Implications for Martian exobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. R.

    1992-01-01

    The survival of Baccillus subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 has been examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) and Martian (Fe3+ montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric composition and pressure. An important finding is that MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, probably owing to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Mars environment. This finding, the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Mars-type soils, may have important implications for future missions to Mars.

  3. Martian induced magnetosphere variations with solar activity cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fedorov, Andrey; Ronan, Modolo; Jarninen, Riku; Mazelle, Christian; Barabash, Stas

    2014-05-01

    During the last 6 years of ESA Mars Express mission we have accumulated plasma data taken inside and around the Martian induced magnetosphere corresponding to the increasing branch of solar activity. This data allows to make an enhanced study of the magnetosphere variations as a response of the solar activity level. Since Mars Express has no onboard magnetometer, we used the hybrid models of the Martian plasma environment to get a proper frame to make an adequate statistics of the magnetospheric response. In this paper we present a spatial distribution of the planetary plasma in the planetary wake as well as the ionsospheric escape as a function of the solar activity.

  4. Martian Swarm Exploration and Mapping Using Laser Slam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowak, S.; Krüger, T.; Matthaei, J.; Bestmann, U.

    2013-08-01

    In order to explore planet Mars in detail and search for extra-terrestrial life the observation from orbit is not sufficient. To realize complex exploration tasks the use of automatic operating robots with a robust fault-tolerant method of navigation, independent of any infrastructure is a possibility. This work includes a concept of rotary-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) for Martian exploration in a swarm. Besides the scenario of Martian surrounding, with a small number of distinctive landmarks, the challenge consists of a Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) concept using laser data of all swarm members.

  5. Lidar Measurements of Snow Falling from Martian Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    The Canadian-built lidar aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander produced this graphic of a profile of a Martian cloud on the 99th sol, or Martian day, of the mission (Sept. 3, 2008). The vertical streaks at the base of the cloud on the right of the image show ice crystals falling from the cloud, similar to snow. The streaks are curved as the winds are faster around 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) than at higher altitudes. Scientists are able to determine that the snow is water-based and not carbon-dioxide snow, since temperatures on Mars are currently too warm to support the latter.

  6. Martian thermosphere-exosphere temperatures from SPICAM dayglow measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stiepen, A.; Gérard, J.-C.; Bougher, S.; Montmessin, F.

    2013-09-01

    We analyze the ultraviolet dayglow in the atmosphere of Mars through CO2+ and CO Cameron emissions. These emissions are accumulated on a large dataset of dayside grazing limb performed by the Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Mars (SPICAM) instrument on board the Mars Express spacecraft. The temperature of the Martian high atmosphere can be retrieved from these limb emission profiles. Its variability with season, latitude, solar activity and the crustal magnetic field is discussed. We use a one-dimensional chemical-diffusive model to retrieve the main features of the emissions and constrain the temperature and density vertical profiles of the main components of the Martian atmosphere.

  7. Distribution and Orientation of Alluvial Fans in Martian Craters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kraal, E. R.; Moore, J. M.; Howard, A. D.; Asphaug, E. I.

    2005-01-01

    We present the results of the complete survey of Martian alluvial fans from 0-30 S, initiated by Moore and Howard. Nineteen impact craters contain alluvial fans. They are regionally grouped into three distinct areas. We present our initial results regarding their distribution and orientation in order to understand what controls their formation. Since alluvial fans are formed by water transport of sediment, these features record wetter episodes of Martian climate. In addition, their enigmatic distribution (in regional groups and in some craters, but not similar adjacent ones) needs to be understood, to see how regional geology, topographic characteristics, and/or climate influence their formation and distribution.

  8. Germination and growth of wheat in simulated Martian atmospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwartzkopf, Steven H.; Mancinelli, Rocco L.

    One design for a manned Mars base incorporates a bioregenerative life support system based upon growing higher plants at a low atmospheric pressure in a greenhouse on the Martian surface. To determine the concept's feasibility, the germination and initial growth of wheat ( Triticum aestivum) was evaluated at low atmospheric pressures in simulated Martian atmosphere (SMA) and in SMA supplemented with oxygen. Total atmospheric pressures ranged from 10 to 1013 mb. No seeds germinated in pure SMA, regardless of atmospheric pressure. In SMA plus oxygen at 60 mb total pressure, germination and growth occurred but were lower than in the Earth atmosphere controls.

  9. Formation of Martian Gullies by the Action of Liquid Water Flowing Under Current Martian Environmental Conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heldmann, J. L.; Toon, O. B.; Pollard, W. H.; Mellon, M. T.; Pitlick, J.; McKay, C. P.; Andersen, D. T.

    2005-01-01

    Images from the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft show geologically young small-scale features resembling terrestrial water-carved gullies. An improved understanding of these features has the potential to reveal important information about the hydrological system on Mars, which is of general interest to the planetary science community as well as the field of astrobiology and the search for life on Mars. The young geologic age of these gullies is often thought to be a paradox because liquid water is unstable at the Martian surface. Current temperatures and pressures are generally below the triple point of water (273 K, 6.1 mbar) so that liquid water will spontaneously boil and/or freeze. We therefore examine the flow of water on Mars to determine what conditions are consistent with the observed features of the gullies.

  10. Biological space experiments for the simulation of Martian conditions: UV radiation and Martian soil analogues.

    PubMed

    Rettberg, P; Rabbow, E; Panitz, C; Horneck, G

    2004-01-01

    The survivability of resistant terrestrial microbes, bacterial spores of Bacillus subtilis, was investigated in the BIOPAN facility of the European Space Agency onboard of Russian Earth-orbiting FOTON satellites (BIOPAN I -III missions). The spores were exposed to different subsets of the extreme environmental parameters in space (vacuum, extraterrestrial solar UV, shielding by protecting materials like artificial meteorites). The results of the three space experiments confirmed the deleterious effects of extraterrestrial solar UV radiation which, in contrast to the UV radiation reaching the surface of the Earth, also contains the very energy-rich, short wavelength UVB and UVC radiation. Thin layers of clay, rock or meteorite material were shown to be only successful in UV-shielding, if they are in direct contact with the spores. On Mars the UV radiation climate is similar to that of the early Earth before the development of a protective ozone layer in the atmosphere by the appearance of the first aerobic photosynthetic bacteria. The interference of Martian soil components and the intense and nearly unfiltered Martian solar UV radiation with spores of B. subtilis will be tested with a new BIOPAN experiment, MARSTOX. Different types of Mars soil analogues will be used to determine on one hand their potential toxicity alone or in combination with solar UV (phototoxicity) and on the other hand their UV protection capability. Two sets of samples will be placed under different cut-off filters used to simulate the UV radiation climate of Mars and Earth. After exposure in space the survival of and mutation induction in the spores will be analyzed at the DLR, together with parallel samples from the corresponding ground control experiment performed in the laboratory. This experiment will provide new insights into the principal limits of life and its adaptation to environmental extremes on Earth or other planets which and will also have implications for the potential for the

  11. Biological space experiments for the simulation of Martian conditions: UV radiation and Martian soil analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rettberg, P.; Rabbow, E.; Panitz, C.; Horneck, G.

    2004-01-01

    The survivability of resistant terrestrial microbes, bacterial spores of Bacillus subtilis, was investigated in the BIOPAN facility of the European Space Agency onboard of Russian Earth-orbiting FOTON satellites (BIOPAN I -III missions). The spores were exposed to different subsets of the extreme environmental parameters in space (vacuum, extraterrestrial solar UV, shielding by protecting materials like artificial meteorites). The results of the three space experiments confirmed the deleterious effects of extraterrestrial solar UV radiation which, in contrast to the UV radiation reaching the surface of the Earth, also contains the very energy-rich, short wavelength UVB and UVC radiation. Thin layers of clay, rock or meteorite material were shown to be only successful in UV-shielding, if they are in direct contact with the spores. On Mars the UV radiation climate is similar to that of the early Earth before the development of a protective ozone layer in the atmosphere by the appearance of the first aerobic photosynthetic bacteria. The interference of Martian soil components and the intense and nearly unfiltered Martian solar UV radiation with spores of B. subtilis will be tested with a new BIOPAN experiment, MARSTOX. Different types of Mars soil analogues will be used to determine on one hand their potential toxicity alone or in combination with solar UV (phototoxicity) and on the other hand their UV protection capability. Two sets of samples will be placed under different cut-off filters used to simulate the UV radiation climate of Mars and Earth. After exposure in space the survival of and mutation induction in the spores will be analyzed at the DLR, together with parallel samples from the corresponding ground control experiment performed in the laboratory. This experiment will provide new insights into the principal limits of life and its adaptation to environmental extremes on Earth or other planets which and will also have implications for the potential for the

  12. Pyroxenes in Martian meteorites as petrogenetic indicators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Gordon; Le, L.; Mikouchi, T.; Makishima, J.; Schwandt, C.

    2006-01-01

    Pyroxenes in Martian meteorites are important recorders of petrogenetic processes. Understanding the details of pyroxene major and minor element compositional variations can provide important insights into those processes. A combination of careful petrographic analysis of natural samples and experimental crystallization studies can lead to better understanding of the processes that gave rise to these samples on Mars. In addition, experimentally determined major, minor and trace element partition coefficients are important for using natural pyroxenes to estimate the compositions of the melts from which they crystallized and the oxidation conditions that prevailed during crystallization. We will report on minor element (Al, Ti, Cr) zoning in nakhlite pyroxenes and in synthetic pyroxenes that we have grown for the purposes of determining pyroxene/melt partition coefficients for Sr and REE. The natural pyroxenes have patchy Al zoning that, by analogy with our experimental pyroxenes, we interpret as sector zoning. The irregular patchy nature of the zoning is probably the result of the vagaries of growth kinetics and local environment during crystal growth. More slowly cooled nakhlites have the most distinct bimodal zoning, with one mode having Al2O3 around 0.5-0.6 wt%, and the other around 0.9 %. Average Al content increases with increasing cooling rate. This feature is puzzling, since the cumulus pyroxenes were almost certainly present at the time of eruption. Al and Ti are strongly correlated, but Cr is completely decoupled from those elements. The synthetic pyroxenes are distinctly sector zoned in Al and Ti, and the sector-to-sector variation in Al within a single crystal has important effects on trace element partition coefficients. Trivalent REE are strongly correlated with Al, while divalent elements (Sr, Eu+2) show a significantly weaker correlation. For example, as the Al2O3 content varies from 0.3 to 0.6 wt % from one sector to another, D(Gd) increases by

  13. Martian paleomagnetism with the SQUID microscope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, Benjamin Paul

    an apparently ancient martian atmosphere. Because this gas is enriched in light isotopes of H and N relative to that on present-day Mars, this supports the hypothesis that the planet has experienced significant atmospheric loss since 4 Ga. These calculations also suggest that for the last 4 Gyr, average surface temperatures on Mars may not have been much higher than the present cold conditions.

  14. Looking for Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westall, F.; Walsh, M. M.; Mckay, D. D.; Wentworth, S.; Gibson, E. K.; Steele, A.; Toporski, J.; Lindstrom, D.; Martinez, R.; Allen, C. C.

    1999-01-01

    The rationale for looking for prokaryote fossils in Martian materials is based on our present understanding of the environmental evolution of that planet in comparison to the history of the terrestrial environments and the development and evolution of life on Earth. On Earth we have clear, albeit indirect, evidence of life in 3.8 b.y.-old rocks from Greenland and the first morphological fossils in 3.3-3.5 b.y.-old cherts from South Africa and Australia. In comparison, Mars, being smaller, probably cooled down after initial aggregation faster than the Earth. Consequently, there could have been liquid water on its surface earlier than on Earth. With a similar exogenous and endogenous input of organics and life-sustaining nutrients as is proposed for the Earth, life could have arisen on that planet, possibly slightly earlier dm it did on Earth. Whereas on Earth liquid water has remained at the surface of the planet since about 4.4 b.y. (with some possible interregnums caused by planet-sterilising impacts before 3.8. b.y. and perhaps a number of periods of a totally frozen Earth, this was not the case with Mars. Although it is not known exactly when surficial water disappeared from the surface, there would have been sufficient time for life to have developed into something similar to the terrestrial prokaryote stage. However, given the earlier environmental deterioration, it is unlikely that it evolved into the eukaryote stage and even evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis may not have been reached. Thus, the impetus of research is on single celled life simnilar to prokaryotes. We are investigating a number of methods of trace element analysis with respect to the Early Archaean microbial fossils. Preliminary neutron activation analysis of carbonaceous layers in the Early Archaean cherts from South Africa and Australia shows some partitioning of elements such as As, Sb, Cr with an especial enrichment of lanthanides in a carbonaceous-rich banded iron sediment . More

  15. Electrostatic fields in a dusty Martian environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sentman, D. D.

    1991-01-01

    While there have been several studies suggesting the possibility of electrical activity on Mars, to date there have been no measurements to search for evidence of such activity. In the absence of widespread water clouds and convective storm systems similar to those on the Earth and Jupiter, the most likely candidate for the creation of electrostatic charges and fields is triboelectric charging of dust, i.e., the friction between blown dust and the ground, and of dust particles with each other. Terrestrial experience demonstrates that electric fields 5 to 15 kV-m(exp -1) are not uncommon in dust storms and dust devils in desert regions, where the polarity varies according to the chemical composition and grain size. Simple laboratory experiments have demonstrated that modest electrostatic fields of roughly 5,000 V-m(exp -1) may be produced, along with electrical spark discharges and glow discharges, in a simulation of a dusty, turbulent Martian surface environment. While the Viking landers operated for several years with no apparent deleterious effects from electrostatic charging, this may have been at least partly due to good engineering design utilizing pre-1976 electronic circuitry to minimize the possibility of differential charging among the various system components. However, free roaming rovers, astronauts, and airborne probes may conceivably encounter an environment where electrostatic charging is a frequent occurrence, either by way of induction from a static electric field or friction with the dusty surface and atmosphere. This raises the possibility of spark discharges or current surges when subsequent contact is made with other pieces of electrical equipment, and the possibility of damage to modern microelectronic circuitry. Measurements of electrostatic fields on the surface of Mars could therefore be valuable for assessing this danger. Electric field measurements could also be useful for detecting natural discharges that originate in dust storms. This

  16. Terrestrial analogs of possible Martian habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, E. I.

    Four environmental factors are responsible for the apparent absence of life on or near the surface of Mars: radiation, reactive oxidants, aridity and low temperature. The three latter factors are also present in terrestrial environments that approximate, although do not reach, the intensity of Martian conditions. Nor do they occur together in the same environments, yet they allow studying the response of microorganisms separately to each of these environmental factors. 1. Most laboratory experiments on radiation "resistance" deal with the ability of microorganisms to repair (in a radiation-free environment) previously suffered radiation damage. Little is known on the response to continuous high radiation environments. 2. Mars-like soils with reactive oxidants have recently (2004) been discovered in the most arid regions of the Atacama Desert. 3. Extreme aridity (absence of liquid water) has been studied in the Negev, Gobi and other deserts. In these habitats the sole primary producer worldwide is the cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis. This organism tolerates total desiccation for decades and upon wetting it resumes full activity within a few minutes. However, it utilizes only liquid water, not water vapor from the atmosphere. Both heterotrophic and photosynthetic bacteria (primary producers) reach their limit of existence in the extreme arid core of the Atacama Desert, possibly the driest place on Earth. 4. Extreme cold, per se, is not harmful to life: organisms in frozen state can be preserved for very long times. On Earth, "psychrophiles" (cold adapted microorganisms) live in oceans and lakes, in thermally stable aquatic environments with temperature optima around +5o C, and are unable to tolerate temperatures above +15o C. Extreme cold conditions occur only in non-aquatic (terrestrial) environments. Here the limiting factor is not low temperature, but rather the lack of high temperature necessary to drive metabolic processes. Microorganisms of these habitats are

  17. What Lies Below a Martian Ice Cap

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on image for larger annotated version

    This image (top) taken by the Shallow Radar instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals the layers of ice, sand and dust that make up the north polar ice cap on Mars. It is the most detailed look to date at the insides of this ice cap. The colored map below the radar picture shows the topography of the corresponding Martian terrain (red and white represent higher ground, and green and yellow lower).

    The radar image reveals four never-before-seen thick layers of ice and dust separated by layers of nearly pure ice. According to scientists, these thick ice-free layers represent approximately one-million-year-long cycles of climate change on Mars caused by variations in the planet's tilted axis and its eccentric orbit around the sun. Adding up the entire stack of ice gives an estimated age for the north polar ice cap of about 4 million years a finding that agrees with previous theoretical estimates. The ice cap is about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) thick.

    The radar picture also shows that the boundary between the ice layers and the surface of Mars underneath is relatively flat (bottom white line on the right). This implies that the surface of Mars is not sagging, or bending, under the weight of the ice cap and this, in turn, suggests that the planet's lithosphere, a combination of the crust and the strong parts of the upper mantle, is thicker than previously thought.

    A thicker lithosphere on Mars means that temperatures increase more gradually with depth toward the interior. Temperatures warm enough for water to be liquid are therefore deeper than previously thought. Likewise, if liquid water does exist in aquifers below the surface of Mars, and if there are any organisms living in that water, they would have to be located deeper in the planet.

    The topography data are from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, which was flown on NASA's Mars Global

  18. Martian Dust Devil Movie, Phoenix Sol 104

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    The Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander caught this dust devil in action west of the lander in four frames shot about 50 seconds apart from each other between 11:53 a.m. and 11:56 a.m. local Mars time on Sol 104, or the 104th Martian day of the mission, Sept. 9, 2008.

    Dust devils have not been detected in any Phoenix images from earlier in the mission, but at least six were observed in a dozen images taken on Sol 104.

    Dust devils are whirlwinds that often occur when the Sun heats the surface of Mars, or some areas on Earth. The warmed surface heats the layer of atmosphere closest to it, and the warm air rises in a whirling motion, stirring dust up from the surface like a miniature tornado.

    The dust devil visible in this sequence was about 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet) from the lander when the first frame was taken, and had moved to about 1,700 meters (about 5,600 feet) away by the time the last frame was taken about two and a half minutes later. The dust devil was moving westward at an estimated speed of 5 meters per second (11 miles per hour), which is similar to typical late-morning wind speed and direction indicated by the telltale wind gauge on Phoenix.

    This dust devil is about 5 meters (16 feet) in diameter. This is much smaller than dust devils that have been observed by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit much closer to the equator. It is closer in size to dust devils seen from orbit in the Phoenix landing region, though still smaller than those..

    The image has been enhanced to make the dust devil easier to see. Some of the frame-to-frame differences in the appearance of foreground rocks is because each frame was taken through a different color filter.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  19. A comprehensive database of Martian landslides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battista Crosta, Giovanni; Vittorio De Blasio, Fabio; Frattini, Paolo; Valbuzzi, Elena

    2016-04-01

    During a long-term project, we have identified and classified a large number (> 3000) of Martian landslides especially but not exclusively from Valles Marineris. This database provides a more complete basis for a statistical study of landslides on Mars and its relationship with geographical and environmental conditions. Landslides have been mapped according to standard geomorphological criteria, delineating both the landslide scar and accumulation limits, associating each scarp to a deposit, and using the program ArcGis for generation of a complete digital dataset. Multiple accumulations from the same source area or from different sources have been differentiated, where possible, to obtain a more complete dataset and to allow more refined analyses. Each landslide has been classified according to a set of criteria including: type, degree of confinement, possible trigger, elevation with respect to datum, geomorphological features, degree of multiplicity, and so on. The runout, fall height, and volume have been measured for each deposit. In fact, the database is revealing a series of trends that may assist at understanding landform processes on Mars and its past climatic conditions. One of the most interesting aspects of our dataset is the presence of a population of landslides whose particularly long mobility deviates from average behavior. While some landslides have travelled unimpeded on a usually flat area, others have travelled against obstacles or mounds. Therefore, landslides are also studied in relation to i) morphologies created by the landslide itself, ii) presence of mounds, barriers or elevations than have affected the movement of the landslide mass. In some extreme cases, the landslide was capable of travelling for several tens of km along the whole valley and upon reaching the opposite side it travelled upslope for several hundreds of meters, which is indication of high travelling speed. In other cases, the high speed is revealed by dynamic deformations

  20. Martian fluid and Martian weathering signatures identified in Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 by halogen and noble gas analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cartwright, J. A.; Gilmour, J. D.; Burgess, R.

    2013-03-01

    We report argon (Ar) noble gas, Ar-Ar ages and halogen abundances (Cl, Br, I) of Martian nakhlites Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 to determine the presence of Martian hydrous fluids and weathering products. Neutron-irradiated samples were either crushed and step-heated (Nakhla only), or simply step-heated using a laser or furnace, and analysed for noble gases using an extension of the 40Ar-39Ar technique to determine halogen abundances. The data obtained provide the first isotopic evidence for a trapped fluid that is Cl-rich, has a strong correlation with 40ArXS (40ArXS = 40Armeasured - 40Arradiogenic) and displays 40ArXS/36Ar of ˜1000 - consistent with the Martian atmosphere. This component was released predominantly in the low temperature and crush experiments, which may suggest a fluid inclusion host. For the halogens, we observe similar Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios between the nakhlites and terrestrial reservoirs, which is surprising given the absence of crustal recycling, organic matter and frequent fluid activity on Mars. In particular, Br/Cl ratios in our Nakhla samples (especially olivine) are consistent with previously analysed Martian weathering products, and both low temperature and crush analyses show a similar trend to the evaporation of seawater. This may indicate that surface brines play an important role on Mars and on halogen assemblages within Martian meteorites and rocks. Elevated I/Cl ratios in the low temperature NWA 998 and MIL 03346 releases may relate to in situ terrestrial contamination, though we are unable to distinguish between low temperature terrestrial or Martian components. Whilst estimates of the amount of water present based on the 36Ar concentrations are too high to be explained by a fluid component alone, they are consistent with a mixed-phase inclusion (gas and fluid) or with shock-implanted Martian atmospheric argon. The observed fluid is dilute (low salinity, but high Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios), contains a Martian atmospheric component

  1. Terrestrial microbes in martian and chondritic meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Airieau, S.; Picenco, Y.; Andersen, G.

    2007-08-01

    Introduction: The best extraterrestrial analogs for microbiology are meteorites. The chemistry and mineralogy of Asteroid Belt and martian (SNC) meteorites are used as tracers of processes that took place in the early solar system. Meteoritic falls, in particular those of carbonaceous chondrites, are regarded as pristine samples of planetesimal evolution as these rocks are primitive and mostly unprocessed since the formation of the solar system 4.56 billion years ago. Yet, questions about terrestrial contamination and its effects on the meteoritic isotopic, chemical and mineral characteristics often arise. Meteorites are hosts to biological activity as soon as they are in contact with the terrestrial biosphere, like all rocks. A wide biodiversity was found in 21 chondrites and 8 martian stones, and was investigated with cell culture, microscopy techniques, PCR, and LAL photoluminetry. Some preliminary results are presented here. The sample suite included carbonaceous chondrites of types CR, CV, CK, CO, CI, and CM, from ANSMET and Falls. Past studies documented the alteration of meteorites by weathering and biological activity [1]-[4]. Unpublished observations during aqueous extraction for oxygen isotopic analysis [5], noted the formation of biofilms in water in a matter of days. In order to address the potential modification of meteoritic isotopic and chemical signatures, the culture of microbial contaminating species was initiated in 2005, and after a prolonged incubation, some of the species obtained from cell culture were analyzed in 2006. The results are preliminary, and a systematic catalog of microbial contaminants is developing very slowly due to lack of funding. Methods: The primary method was cell culture and PCR. Chondrites. Chondritic meteorite fragments were obtained by breaking stones of approximately one gram in sterile mortars. The core of the rocks, presumably less contaminated than the surface, was used for the present microbial study, and the

  2. Samples from Martian craters: Origin of the Martian soil by hydrothermal alteration of impact melt deposits and atmospheric interactions with ejecta during crater formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Newsom, Horton E.

    1988-01-01

    The origin of the Martian soil is an important question for understanding weathering processes on the Martian surface, and also for understanding the global geochemistry of Mars. Chemical analyses of the soil will provide an opportunity to examine what may be a crustal average, as studies of loess on the Earth have demonstrated. In this regard the origin of the Martian soil is also important for understanding the chemical fractionations that have affected the composition of the soil. Several processes that are likely to contribute to the Martian soil are examined.

  3. Slope histogram distribution-based parametrisation of Martian geomorphic features

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balint, Zita; Székely, Balázs; Kovács, Gábor

    2014-05-01

    The application of geomorphometric methods on the large Martian digital topographic datasets paves the way to analyse the Martian areomorphic processes in more detail. One of the numerous methods is the analysis is to analyse local slope distributions. To this implementation a visualization program code was developed that allows to calculate the local slope histograms and to compare them based on Kolmogorov distance criterion. As input data we used the digital elevation models (DTMs) derived from HRSC high-resolution stereo camera image from various Martian regions. The Kolmogorov-criterion based discrimination produces classes of slope histograms that displayed using coloration obtaining an image map. In this image map the distribution can be visualized by their different colours representing the various classes. Our goal is to create a local slope histogram based classification for large Martian areas in order to obtain information about general morphological characteristics of the region. This is a contribution of the TMIS.ascrea project, financed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The present research is partly realized in the frames of TÁMOP 4.2.4.A/2-11-1-2012-0001 high priority "National Excellence Program - Elaborating and Operating an Inland Student and Researcher Personal Support System convergence program" project's scholarship support, using Hungarian state and European Union funds and cofinances from the European Social Fund.

  4. Martian weather and climate in the 21st century

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zurek, Richard W.

    1990-01-01

    The historical interest in the weather and climate of Mars and current understanding of aspects of the present climate are addressed. Scientific research into the weather and climate of Mars in the next century is examined. The impact of the Martian weather of the 21st century on humans that may then be inhabiting the planet is considered.

  5. The Martian Water Cycle Based on 3-D Modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Houben, H.; Haberle, R. M.; Joshi, M. M.

    1999-01-01

    Understanding the distribution of Martian water is a major goal of the Mars Surveyor program. However, until the bulk of the data from the nominal missions of TES, PMIRR, GRS, MVACS, and the DS2 probes are available, we are bound to be in a state where much of our knowledge of the seasonal behavior of water is based on theoretical modeling. We therefore summarize the results of this modeling at the present time. The most complete calculations come from a somewhat simplified treatment of the Martian climate system which is capable of simulating many decades of weather. More elaborate meteorological models are now being applied to study of the problem. The results show a high degree of consistency with observations of aspects of the Martian water cycle made by Viking MAWD, a large number of ground-based measurements of atmospheric column water vapor, studies of Martian frosts, and the widespread occurrence of water ice clouds. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  6. The motion of Martian glaciers and volcanic activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Czechowski, L.

    2015-10-01

    The role of density of the heat flow on the velocity of motion of Martian glaciers is investigated using numerical model. We find that for enhanced heat flow the motion could increase dramatically. Similar effect could be achieved by thick insulating thermally layer on the top of the glacier.

  7. Bacterial growth in a simulated Martian subsurface environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronyak, R. E.; Pavlov, A.; House, C. H.

    2013-12-01

    The ability of microorganisms to grow under Martian conditions has implications in both the search for life and habitability of Mars as well as the potential contamination of Mars by landing spacecraft. Factors that inhibit the growth of organisms on Mars include UV radiation, low pressure and temperature, CO2 atmosphere, lack of liquid water, and extreme desiccation. Yet a possible biozone capable of supporting microbial life on Mars exists in the shallow subsurface where there is protection from harsh UV rays. In addition, the presence of widespread subsurface ice, confirmed by the Phoenix Lander, offers a water source as the ice sublimates through the upper soil. Here we will determine the ability of the organism Halomonas desiderata strain SP1 to grow in the simulated Martian subsurface environment. Halomonas was chosen as the bacteria of interest due to its tolerance to extreme environments, including carrying salt concentrations and pH. Experiments were carried out in the Mars Simulation Chamber, where temperatures, pressures, and atmospheric composition can be closely monitored to simulate Martian conditions. A series of stress experiments were conducted to observe Halomonas's ability to withstand exposure to a Mars analog soil, freezing temperatures, anoxic conditions, and low pressures. We have determined that Halomonas is able to survive exposures to low temperatures, pressures, and anoxic conditions. We will report on the survival and growth of Halomonas in the simulated Martian permafrost under low (6-10 mbar) atmospheric pressures.

  8. Development of a Charged Particle Detector for Windborne Martian Dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calle, C. I.; Mantovani, J. G.; Groop, E. E.; Buehler, M. G.; Buhler, C. R.; Nowicki, A. W.

    2002-01-01

    A prototype of an aerodynamic electrometer to measure the electrostatic properties of Martian atmospheric dust has been constructed. The instrument will enable a more thorough understanding of the potential for electrostatic discharge of different materials on Mars. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  9. Modeling the development of martian sublimation thermokarst landforms

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dundas, Colin M.; Byrne, Shane; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2015-01-01

    Sublimation-thermokarst landforms result from collapse of the surface when ice is lost from the subsurface. On Mars, scalloped landforms with scales of decameters to kilometers are observed in the mid-latitudes and considered likely thermokarst features. We describe a landscape evolution model that couples diffusive mass movement and subsurface ice loss due to sublimation. Over periods of tens of thousands of Mars years under conditions similar to the present, the model produces scallop-like features similar to those on the Martian surface, starting from much smaller initial disturbances. The model also indicates crater expansion when impacts occur in surfaces underlain by excess ice to some depth, with morphologies similar to observed landforms on the Martian northern plains. In order to produce these landforms by sublimation, substantial quantities of excess ice are required, at least comparable to the vertical extent of the landform, and such ice must remain in adjacent terrain to support the non-deflated surface. We suggest that Martian thermokarst features are consistent with formation by sublimation, without melting, and that significant thicknesses of very clean excess ice (up to many tens of meters, the depth of some scalloped depressions) are locally present in the Martian mid-latitudes. Climate conditions leading to melting at significant depth are not required.

  10. Modeling Results on the Seasonal Influence at the Martian Exosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhattacharyya, Dolon; Clarke, John; Bertaux, Jean-Loup; Chaufray, Jean-Yves; Mayyasi, Majd

    2015-11-01

    Analysis of HST ACS/SBC images of Mars in the far-ultraviolet taken in Oct-Nov 2007 and May-November 2014 indicate seasonal influence as a driving factor of the hydrogen corona, as has been reported earlier. To derive the changes in number density and temperature, the data must be compared to a radiative transfer model to simulate the resonantly scattered optically thick Lyman α emission from the exosphere of Mars. This work presents details on the modeling process used to analyze the data and the corresponding uncertainties. The escape flux is highly dependent on the characteristics of the martian exosphere like the exobase temperature and number density of H atoms as well as the presence or absence of a superthermal population of hydrogen atoms. Detailed studies on the workings of the radiative transfer model indicate degeneracy between temperature and number density values that can fit the data. Therefore it is difficult to accurately determine the characteristics of the martian hydrogen exosphere without independent measurement of at least one of the variables. However, HST observations have the advantage of observing a large portion of the dayside exosphere with intensity profiles extending from altitudes of 700 - 30,000 km giving a better estimate of the best-fit temperature and density values which characterize the martian exosphere under different seasonal conditions. Comparisons of the latitudinal symmetry from the HST images indicate the exosphere to be symmetric beyond 2.5 martian radii due to the broad trajectories of atoms at high altitudes.

  11. Martian north pole summer temperatures - Dirty water ice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kieffer, H. H.; Martin, T. Z.; Chase, S. C., Jr.; Miner, E. D.; Palluconi, F. D.

    1976-01-01

    Broadband thermal and reflectance observations of the Martian north polar region in late summer yield temperatures for the residual polar cap near 205 K with albedos near 43 percent. The residual cap and several outlying smaller deposits are water ice with included dirt; there is no evidence for any permanent carbon dioxide polar cap.

  12. Iron-montmorillonite - A spectral analog of Martian soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Banin, A.; Margulies, L.; Chen, Y.

    1985-01-01

    Spectral data for smectite clays, particularly for montmorillonite, which contain various adsorbed ions and are measured in the UV, VIS, and NIR ranges are analyzed and compared with Martian soil and dust spectra. It is shown that the structural octahedral iron in smectite clays affects their light absorbance in the UV at 240-260 nm, which results from an O(2-) to Fe(3+) charge transfer, similar to one observed in the Martian spectrum. Adsorbed iron affects, via crystal field absorptions, the reflectance of montmorillonite in the VIS and NIR ranges, resulting in stronger absorption and higher opacity in the range 0.40-0.65 micron. Both in spectral contrast and presence of (or lack of) spectral features, the Fe-montmorillonite spectra in the VIS and NIR are in reasonable agreement with the Martian spectrum. It is found that the spectral characteristics of iron-saturated smectite clays cannot be used to preclude the presence of clays in Martian soils and dust.

  13. Modeling the development of martian sublimation thermokarst landforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dundas, Colin M.; Byrne, Shane; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2015-12-01

    Sublimation-thermokarst landforms result from collapse of the surface when ice is lost from the subsurface. On Mars, scalloped landforms with scales of decameters to kilometers are observed in the mid-latitudes and considered likely thermokarst features. We describe a landscape evolution model that couples diffusive mass movement and subsurface ice loss due to sublimation. Over periods of tens of thousands of Mars years under conditions similar to the present, the model produces scallop-like features similar to those on the martian surface, starting from much smaller initial disturbances. The model also indicates crater expansion when impacts occur in surfaces underlain by excess ice to some depth, with morphologies similar to observed landforms on the martian northern plains. In order to produce these landforms by sublimation, substantial quantities of excess ice are required, at least comparable to the vertical extent of the landform, and such ice must remain in adjacent terrain to support the non-deflated surface. We suggest that martian thermokarst features are consistent with formation by sublimation, without melting, and that significant thicknesses of very clean excess ice (up to many tens of meters, the depth of some scalloped depressions) are locally present in the martian mid-latitudes. Climate conditions leading to melting at significant depth are not required.

  14. Isotopic Constraints on the Petrology of Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, J. H.

    2005-01-01

    The SNC (martian) meteorites exhibit complex isotopic characteristics that yield information both about the ages of individual meteorites as well as information about the petrogenetic processes that produced both individual samples and about the origins of suites and sub-suites within the SNC clan. Here I review these data, reiterate earlier interpretations, and offer some new conclusions.

  15. Terrestrial glacial eskers: Analogs for Martian sinuous ridges

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kargel, Jeffrey S.; Strom, Roger G.

    1991-01-01

    A glacial model was introduced last year for the Argyre region, a concept which is now extended, and which was recently integrated with a Global Hydrologic Model incorporating many other aspects of Martian geology. Despite wide agreement that the Martian ridges strongly resemble glacial eskers, this hypothesis has been presented with great equivocation due to a perceived lack of other glacial landforms. Quite to the contrary, it is shown that the Martian ridges actually do occur in logical ordered sequences with many other types of characteristically glacial appearing landforms. Herein, the esker hypothesis is further supported in isolation from considerations of regional landform assemblages. It is concluded that Martian sinuous ridges are similar in every respect to terrestrial eskers: scale, morphology, planimetric pattern, and associations with other probable glaciogenic landforms. It is found that the esker hypothesis is well supported. Eskers are glaciofluvial structures, and owe their existence to large scale melting of stagnant temporate glaciers. Thus, eskers are indicators of an ameliorating climatic regime after a protracted episode of cold, humid conditions.

  16. The influence of ozone on Martian atmospheric temperature

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuhn, W. R.; Atreya, S. K.; Postawko, S. E.

    1979-01-01

    Radiative equilibrium temperature calculations for Mars are presented, using the model of Kuhn et al. (1978). The maximum amount of ozone measured was 57 microns over the polar hood during winter. Results indicate that, although a minor constituent in the Martian atmosphere, ozone may play a significant role in controlling the rate of carbon dioxide deposition and thus the atmospheric pressure.

  17. Multifunctional Martian habitat composite material synthesized from in situ resources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sen, S.; Carranza, S.; Pillay, S.

    2010-09-01

    The two primary requirements for a Martian habitat structure include effective radiation shielding against the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) environment and sufficient structural and thermal integrity. To significantly reduce the cost associated with transportation of such materials and structures from earth, it is imperative that such building materials should be synthesized primarily from Martian in situ resources. This paper illustrates the feasibility of such an approach. Experimental results are discussed to demonstrate the synthesis of polyethylene (PE) from a simulated Martian atmosphere and the fabrication of a composite material using simulated Martian regolith with PE as the binding material. The radiation shielding effectiveness of the proposed composites is analyzed using results from radiation transport codes and exposure of the samples to high-energy beams that serve as a terrestrial proxy for the GCR environment. Mechanical and ballistic impact resistance properties of the proposed composite as a function of composition, processing parameters, and thermal variations are also discussed to evaluate the multifunctionality of such in situ synthesized composite materials.

  18. CIRs Observed by MSL/RAD on the Martian Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lohf, Henning; Zeitlin, Cary; Rafkin, Scot; Koehler, Jan; Posner, Arik; Hassler, Donald M.; Heber, Bernd; Ehresmann, Bent; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Guo, Jingnan; Appel, Jan Kristoffer

    2016-07-01

    Co-rotating Interaction Regions (CIRs) are recurrent Stream Interaction Regions in the solar wind which are stable transient plasma structures lasting several solar rotations. They can modulate Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and to some extent result in a modulation of GCR induced secondary energetic particles on the Martian surface. The Mars Science Laboratory/ Radiation Assessment Detector (MSL/RAD) has been measuring the Martian Surface Radiation Environment for more than three years and observes this modulation effect. We will show that the effect of CIRs can be measured on the Martian surface with MSL/RAD and this can be used to derive the arrival times of CIRs at Mars. These can provide (limited) solar wind plasma properties in the vicinity of Mars and thus serve as important constraints for modeling atmospheric response to variations in the solar wind. We use multi spacecraft observations of the solar wind and compare them with the heliospheric MHD Model ENLIL to verify that a certain class of dose rate variation we see on the Martian surface is due to CIRs. We use ballistic back-mapping as well as a time-shift algorithm to map the plasma properties measured at individual spacecraft locations and times to Mars. We compare these predictions with those of the CCMC ENLIL heliospheric MHD simulations.

  19. Martian Atmospheric Dust Mitigation for ISRU Intakes via Electrostatic Precipitation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, James R., III; Pollard, Jacob R. S.; Johansen, Michael R.; Mackey, Paul J.; Clements, Sid; Calle, Carlos I.

    2016-01-01

    This document is the presentation to be given at the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers Earth and Space Conference to examine the concept of using electrostatic precipitation for Martian atmospheric dust mitigation of the intakes of in-situ resource utilization reactors.

  20. Simulation of the UV-radiation at the Martian surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kolb, C.; Stimpfl, P.; Krenn, H.; Lammer, H.; Kargl, G.; Abart, R.; Patel, M. R.

    The UV-radiation at the Martian surface is for several reasons of importance. UV radiation can cause specific damages in the DNA-containing living systems and is involved in the formation of catalytically produced oxidants such as superoxide ions and peroxides. These are capable to oxidize and subsequently destroy organic matter. Lab simulations are necessary to investigate and understand the effects of organic matter removal at the Martian surface. We designed a radiation apparatus which simulates the solar spectrum at the Martian surface between 200 and 700 nm. The system consists of an UV-enhanced xenon arc lamp and special exchangeable filter-sets and mirrors for simulating the effects of the Martian atmospheric column and dust loading. A special collimating system bundles the final parallel beam so that the intensity at the target spot is independent from the distance between the ray source and the sample. The system was calibrated by means of an optical photo-spectrometer to align the ray output with the theoretical target spectrum and to ensure spectral homogeneity. We present preliminary data on calibration and performance of our system, which is integrated in the Austrian Mars simulation facility.

  1. Sunscreening Agents

    PubMed Central

    Martis, Jacintha; Shobha, V; Sham Shinde, Rutuja; Bangera, Sudhakar; Krishnankutty, Binny; Bellary, Shantala; Varughese, Sunoj; Rao, Prabhakar; Naveen Kumar, B.R.

    2013-01-01

    The increasing incidence of skin cancers and photodamaging effects caused by ultraviolet radiation has increased the use of sunscreening agents, which have shown beneficial effects in reducing the symptoms and reoccurrence of these problems. Many sunscreen compounds are in use, but their safety and efficacy are still in question. Efficacy is measured through indices, such as sun protection factor, persistent pigment darkening protection factor, and COLIPA guidelines. The United States Food and Drug Administration and European Union have incorporated changes in their guidelines to help consumers select products based on their sun protection factor and protection against ultraviolet radiation, whereas the Indian regulatory agency has not yet issued any special guidance on sunscreening agents, as they are classified under cosmetics. In this article, the authors discuss the pharmacological actions of sunscreening agents as well as the available formulations, their benefits, possible health hazards, safety, challenges, and proper application technique. New technologies and scope for the development of sunscreening agents are also discussed as well as the role of the physician in patient education about the use of these agents. PMID:23320122

  2. The Delivery of Martian and Lunar Meteorites to Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladman, B.; Burns, J.

    1996-09-01

    Using a regularized mixed-variable symplectic integration code (including the effects of the planets from Mercury through Neptune), we numerically integrate the orbits of ejecta thrown off the terrestrial planets for times of 10(7) --10(8) years. Particles are followed until they impact a planet, strike the Sun, or cross the orbit of Jupiter. The distribution of transit times for Earth-impacting objects is compared with the cosmic-ray exposure data for the lunar and martian meteorites. This comparison is consistent with a recurrent ejection of small (cm to dm) meteoroids due to impacts on their parent bodies. Long-range gravitational effects, especially secular resonances, strongly influence the orbits of many meteoroids and can increase meteoroid collision rates with other planets and even the Sun. These effects, and collisional destruction in the asteroid belt, result in shortened time scales and higher fluxes than previously believed, especially for martian meteorites. A small flux of mercurian meteorites appears possible; recovery of ejecta from the Earth and Venus is less likely. We have developed a model which calculates the expected transfer-age spectrum in terms of the impactor flux onto the Moon and Mars. The non-zero, but finite, age of the Antarctic ice sheet is crucial in understanding the different distributions of transfer ages in the lunar and martian cases. To match the data, most recently arrived lunar meteorites must have been launched by impactors of diameter D < 100 m which struck the Moon in the last few hundred thousand years. In contrast, martian meteorites were launched by impactors several kilometers in diameter that struck Mars several million years ago. The number of meteoroids launched by each impact must scale as D(2) in the lunar case, but D(3) for Mars. Different surface properties for the Moon and Mars may account for these differences. In connection with the transport of microfossils to and from Earth, we show that a small fraction

  3. Hydrogen Isotopic Systematics of Nominally Anhydrous Phases in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tucker, Kera

    Hydrogen isotope compositions of the martian atmosphere and crustal materials can provide unique insights into the hydrological and geological evolution of Mars. While the present-day deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio (D/H) of the Mars atmosphere is well constrained (~6 times that of terrestrial ocean water), that of its deep silicate interior (specifically, the mantle) is less so. In fact, the hydrogen isotope composition of the primordial martian mantle is of great interest since it has implications for the origin and abundance of water on that planet. Martian meteorites could provide key constraints in this regard, since they crystallized from melts originating from the martian mantle and contain phases that potentially record the evolution of the H 2O content and isotopic composition of the interior of the planet over time. Examined here are the hydrogen isotopic compositions of Nominally Anhydrous Phases (NAPs) in eight martian meteorites (five shergottites and three nakhlites) using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). This study presents a total of 113 individual analyses of H2O contents and hydrogen isotopic compositions of NAPs in the shergottites Zagami, Los Angeles, QUE 94201, SaU 005, and Tissint, and the nakhlites Nakhla, Lafayette, and Yamato 000593. The hydrogen isotopic variation between and within meteorites may be due to one or more processes including: interaction with the martian atmosphere, magmatic degassing, subsolidus alteration (including shock), and/or terrestrial contamination. Taking into consideration the effects of these processes, the hydrogen isotope composition of the martian mantle may be similar to that of the Earth. Additionally, this study calculated upper limits on the H2O contents of the shergottite and nakhlite parent melts based on the measured minimum H2O abundances in their maskelynites and pyroxenes, respectively. These calculations, along with some petrogenetic assumptions based on previous studies, were subsequently used

  4. On Water Detection in the Martian Subsurface Using Sounding Radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heggy, E.; Paillou, P.; Ruffie, G.; Malezieux, J. M.; Costard, F.; Grandjean, G.

    2001-12-01

    Several radar experiments are planned to map the martian subsurface down to several kilometers, searching for subsurface liquid water reservoirs, using different concepts and techniques, all based on the penetration property of radio frequency waves in arid soils. The penetration depth of low-frequency radar is mainly related to the electromagnetic properties of the investigated medium. Thus a good knowledge of the martian subsurface dielectric profile along the first few kilometers is necessary for future water identification and data interpretation. In this work we have investigated the electrical and magnetic properties of the martian surface and subsurface, using terrestrial laboratory analogues in the frequency range 1-500 MHz, covering the frequency domain of the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) experiment on board the Mars Express mission (ESA-2003), the NetLander ground-penetrating radar (GPR) (CNES-2007), and future sounding radar that may be updated to the Mars exploration program in the "follow the water" strategy. In our approach, we constructed experimentally the most common dielectric profile representative of the martian subsurface by measuring the electric permittivity and magnetic permeability of well defined mixtures of basaltic, volcanic, and sedimentary materials that have been reported for Mars. We also considered iron oxides (hematite and maghemite) and evaporites that may be present, such as gypsum, and their mixtures with representative amounts of the martian geological context under the most common petrophysical and geophysical conditions, along the subsurface profile. This led to synthetic representative samples of the martian subsurface materials under adequate conditions of porosity and temperature that should exist in the first 2.5 km of the upper crust. Dielectric measurements show that the first layers of the martian subsurface (a few hundred meters), which are mainly composed of volcanic iron

  5. Planetary Bioresources and Astroecology. 1. Planetary Microcosm Bioassays of Martian and Carbonaceous Chondrite Materials: Nutrients, Electrolyte Solutions, and Algal and Plant Responses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mautner, Michael N.

    2002-07-01

    The biological fertilities of planetary materials can be assessed using microcosms based on meteorites. This study applies microcosm tests to martian meteorites and analogues and to carbonaceous chondrites. The biological fertilities of these materials are rated based on the soluble electrolyte nutrients, the growth of mesophile and cold-tolerant algae, and plant tissue cultures. The results show that the meteorites, in particular the Murchison CM2 carbonaceous chondrite and DaG 476 martian shergottite, contain high levels of water-extractable Ca, Mg, and SO 4-S. The martian meteorites DaG 476 and EETA 79001 also contain higher levels of extractable essential nutrients NO 3-N (0.013-0.017 g kg -1) and PO 4-P (0.019-0.046 g kg -1) than the terrestrial analogues. The yields of most of the water-extractable electrolytes vary only by factors of 2-3 under a wide range of planetary conditions. However, the long-term extractable phosphate increases significantly under a CO 2 atmosphere. The biological yields of algae and plant tissue cultures correlate with extractable NO 3-N and PO 4-P, identifying these as the limiting nutrients. Mesophilic algae and Asparagus officinalis cultures are identified as useful bioassay agents. A fertility rating system based on microcosm tests is proposed. The results rate the fertilities in the order martian basalts > terrestrial basalt, agricultural soil > carbonaceous chondrites, lava ash > cumulate igneous rock. The results demonstrate the application of planetary microcosms in experimental astroecology to rate planetary materials as targets for astrobiology exploration and as potential space bioresources. For example, the extractable materials in Murchison suggest that concentrated internal solutions in carbonaceous asteroids (3.8 mol L -1 electrolytes and 10 g L -1 organics) can support and disperse microorganisms introduced by natural or directed panspermia in early solar systems. The results also suggest that carbonaceous asteroids

  6. Spectral characterization of acid weathering products on Martian basaltic glass

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yant, Marcella; Rogers, A. Deanne; Nekvasil, Hanna; Zhao, Yu-Yan Sara; Bristow, Tom

    2016-03-01

    For the first time, direct infrared spectral analyses of glasses with Martian compositions, altered under controlled conditions, are presented in order to assess surface weathering and regolith development on Mars. Basaltic glasses of Irvine and Backstay composition were synthesized and altered using H2SO4-HCl acid solutions (pH 0-4). Scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Raman, and infrared spectral measurements were acquired for each reaction product. Infrared spectra were also acquired from previously synthesized and altered glasses with Pathfinder-measured compositions. Acid alteration on particles in the most acidic solutions (pH ≤ 1) yielded sulfate-dominated visible near infrared (VNIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) spectra with some silica influence. Spectral differences between alteration products from each starting material were present, reflecting strong sensitivity to changes in mineral assemblage. In the TIR, alteration features were preserved after reworking and consolidation. In the VNIR, hydrated sulfate features were present along with strong negative spectral slopes. Although such signatures are found in a few isolated locations on Mars with high-resolution spectrometers, much of the Martian surface lacks these characteristics, suggesting the following: acid alteration occurred at pH ≥ 2; small amounts of sulfates were reworked with unaltered material; there is a prevalence of intermediate-to-high silica glass in Martian starting materials (more resistant to acid alteration); primary or added sulfur were lacking; alteration features are obscured by dust; and/or large-scale, pervasive, acid sulfate weathering of the Martian surface did not occur. These results highlight the need to better understand the spectral properties of altered Martian surface material in order to enhance the interpretation of remote spectra for altered terrains.

  7. Modeling the annual cycle of HDO in the Martian atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montmessin, F.; Fouchet, T.; Forget, F.

    2005-03-01

    We present the results of the first three-dimensional (3-D) simulation of the water isotope HDO in the Martian atmosphere. This deuterated isotope of water has long been used on both Earth and Mars as a proxy to understand the climatic evolutions of these planets. On Mars, the current enrichment in deuterium concentration in the atmosphere is believed to be indirect evidence of a wetter climate in the past. Due to its vapor pressure being lower than that of H2O, HDO gets fractionated at condensation and therefore concentrates in the Martian water ice clouds. Our study aims at understanding the latitudinal, vertical, and temporal variations of this species under current Martian climate. Our results indicate that the globally averaged D/H ratio in the Martian atmosphere should vary modestly with season, with changes on the order of 2%. Locally, however, this same ratio exhibits large annual changes (by a factor of 2) in the high-latitude regions. These fluctuations are controlled by the Polar Hood water ice clouds, within which HDO gets heavily fractionated. Due to the combined action of summer clouds above the north polar cap and to the cold-trapping effect of the south residual cap, the global atmospheric deuterium concentration is predicted to be more than 15% lower than the concentration in the north permanent cap ice. We thus extrapolate by suggesting that the ``true'' D/H ratio of Martian water may exceed 6.5 (wrt. SMOW), rather than the 5.6 inferred from atmospheric probing. The globally and annually averaged vertical distribution of HDO exhibits a mild decline with altitude, a result in significant contrast with previous 1-D studies. These results will help constrain more accurately the photochemical models aimed at understanding the observed low concentration of deuterium at high altitudes and thus the process of water escape to space.

  8. Infrared radiative transfer in the dust-free Martian atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Crisp, D. )

    1990-08-30

    Gases in the Martian atmosphere, including CO{sub 2}, H{sub 2}O, CO, and O{sub 3}, combine to produce some absorption at most infrared wavelengths. Line-by-line and quasi-random models are used to derive synthetic spectra of dust-free Martian atmospheres. These spectra show where gases absorb most strongly and provide a baseline for comparison with the results from more complete models that include the effects of dust. Gas absorption and emission features at many infrared wavelengths provide a source of contamination that must be removed from remote sensing observations of the Martian surface. For example, the weak reflectance minimum observed at wavelengths near 2.35 {mu}m, which has been interpreted as evidence for a variety of surface materials, is produced almost entirely by atmospheric CO and CO{sub 2} absorption. Isotopic CO{sub 2} bands near 7 and 8 {mu}m and near-infrared water vapor absorption bands partially overlap strong carbonate and hydrate features and frustrate systematic spectroscopic searches for these important candidate surface materials on Mars. In other spectral regions, gas absorption bands provide opportunities to study the structure and composition of the Martian atmosphere. Computed radiances within the strong CO{sub 2} 15-{mu}m band are incorporated into an atmospheric retrieval algorithm to derive the atmospheric temperature structure from Mariner 9 IRIS observations. Absorption and emission by gases also contributes to the energetics of the Martian atmosphere. Near-infrared CO{sub 2} bands absorb enough sunlight to produce globally-averaged solar heating rates that vary from 1 K/Earth day at the surface, to 10 K/Earth day at pressures near 0.01 mbar. Other gases contribute 1-5% of the heating at some levels.

  9. Electrostatic Screen for Transport of Martian and Lunar Regolith

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Immer, C.; Starnes, J.; Michalenko, M.; Calle, C. I.; Mazumder, M. K.

    2006-01-01

    The Martian and Lunar Regolith contain fine particulate including those in the size range from 0.5 to 200 micron [1-2]. Martian dust can be transported and deposited by Aeolian processes, including "Dust Devils". Due to the ultra high vacuum (10e-12 Torr), transport of dust on the Moon is solely a result of collision/ballistic motion. Dust obscuration of solar cells is one of the primary factors limiting the duration of Martian missions, including the Mars Exploration Rovers. Dust contamination in vacuum seals is one of the primarily factors that limited lunar excursions during the Apollo missions. Controlled transportation of dust on Mars and the Moon is important for many reasons, including both contamination mitigation and in situ resource utilization (ISRU). Since both the monopole and dipole electrostatic moments result in non-trivial forces on particles in an electrostatic field, dust particles, whether charged or not, can be transported by electrostatic fields. In the electrostatic screen, alternating waveforms of voltage applied to patterned grids of electrodes will transport dust. The authors will show that the canonical methods for transporting dust via electrostatic screen can be readily applied to transport of Martian and Lunar regolith. Experiments have been performed in ambient, low humidity, Martian, and Lunar conditions. Screen parameters have been examined for application to each regolith, such as grid spacing, trace width, grid voltage, pulse pattern, pulse frequency, and coating type. The authors have also developed an electrostatic screen based on optically transparent conductors that can be placed over solar arrays, windows, visors, lenses, etc.

  10. Synchrotron Characterization of Hydrogen and Ferric Iron in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dyar, Melinda D.

    2003-01-01

    The hydrogen budget of the Martian interior is distributed among several phases: melts, hydrous minerals, and nominally anhydrous minerals like olivine, pyroxene, and garnet. All these phases are vulnerable to loss of hydrogen during shock, excavation and transport via the mechanism of dehydrogenation, in which the charge on the H protons is left behind as polarons on Fe atoms. Thus, both H and F(3x) must be analyzed in order to reconstruct hydrogen and oxygen fugacities on Mars. To date, SIMS data have elucidated D/H and H contents of hydrous phases in SNC meteorites, but anhydrous martian minerals have not been systematically examined for trace hydrogen. Ferric iron has been quantified using XANES in many marital phases, but integrated studies of both Fe(3x) and H on the same spots are really needed to address the H budget. Here, we measure and profile H and Fe(3x) abundances in and across individual grains of glass and silicates in Martian meteorites. We use the new technology of synchrotron microFI'lR spectroscopy to measure the hydrogen contents of hydrous and nominally anhydrous minerals in martian meteorites on 30-100 microns thick, doubly polished thin sections on spots down to 3 x 3 microns. Synchrotron microXANES was used to analyze Fe(3x) on the same scale, and complementary SIMS D/H data will be collected where possible, though at a slightly larger scale. Development of this combination of techniques is critical because future sample return missions will generate only microscopic samples for study. Results have been used to quantitatively assess the distribution of hydrogen and ferric iron among phases in the martian interior, which will better constrain the geodynamic processes of the interior, as well as the overall hydrogen and water budgets on Mars.

  11. Constraints on the Composition and Petrogenesis of the Martian Crust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McSween, Harry Y., Jr.; Grove, Timothy L.; Wyatt, Michael B.

    2003-01-01

    Spectral interpretation that silicic rocks are widespread on Mars implies that Earth's differentiated crust is not unique. Evaluation of observations bearing on the composition of the Martian crust (Martian meteorite petrology and a possible crustal assimilant, analysis of Mars Pathfinder rocks, composition of Martian fines, interpretation of spacecraft thermal emission spectra, and inferred crustal densities) indicates that the crust can be either basalt plus andesite or basalt plus weathering products. New calculated chemical compositions for Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) global surface units indicate that surface type 1 has basaltic andesite composition and surface type 2 has the composition of andesite. If these materials represent volcanic rocks, their calc-alkaline compositions on a FeO*/MgO versus silica diagram suggest formation by hydrous melting and fractional crystallization. On Earth, this petrogenesis requires subduction, and it may suggest an early period of plate tectonics on Mars. However, anorogenic production of andesite might have been possible if the primitive Martian mantle was wet. Alternatively, chemical weathering diagrams suggest that surface type 2 materials could have formed by partial weathering of surface type 1 rocks, leading to depletion in soluble cations and mobility of silica. A weathered crust model is consistent with the occurrence of surface type 2 materials as sediments in a depocenter and with the alpha proton X-ray spectrometer (APXS) analysis of excess oxygen suggesting weathering rinds on Pathfinder rocks. If surface type 1 materials are also weathered or mixed with weathered materials, this might eliminate the need for hydrous melting, consistent with a relatively dry Martian mantle without tectonics.

  12. Durham, North Carolina, Students Study Martian Volcanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image of the wall of a graben a depressed block of land between two parellel faults in Tyrrhena Terra, in Mars' ancient southern highlands, was taken by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) at 0914 UTC (4:14 a.m. EST) on February 6, 2008, near 17.3 degrees south latitude, 95.5 degrees east longitude. CRISM's image was taken in 544 colors covering 0.36-3.92 micrometers, and shows features as small as 35 meters (115 feet) across. The region covered is just over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide at its narrowest point.

    This image was part of an investigation planned by students in four high schools in Durham, North Carolina. The students are working with the CRISM science team in a project called the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams (MESDT), which is part of NASA's Mars Public Engagement Program and Arizona State University's Mars Education Program. Starting with a medium-resolution map of the area, taken as part of CRISM's 'multispectral survey' campaign to map Mars in 72 colors at 200 meters (660 feet) per pixel, the students identified a key rock outcrop to test their hypothesis that the irregular depression was formed by Martian volcanism. They provided the coordinates of the target to CRISM's operations team, who took a high-resolution image of the site. The Context Imager (CTX) accompanied CRISM with a 6 meter (20 feet) per pixel, high-resolution image to sharpen the relationship of spectral variations to the underlying surface structures. The Durham students worked with a mentor on the CRISM team to analyze the data, and presented their results at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, held in League City, Texas, on March 10-14, 2008.

    The upper panel of the image shows the location of the CRISM data and the surrounding, larger CTX image, overlain on an image mosaic taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on Mars Odyssey. The mosaic has been color-coded for elevation using data from the Mars

  13. The Martian Prime Meridian -- Longitude 'Zero'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    , 746A46), and these two images were the basis of the martian longitude system for the rest of the 20th Century.

    The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) has attempted to take a picture of Airy-0 on every close overflight since the beginning of the MGS mapping mission. It is a measure of the difficulty of hitting such a small target that nine attempts were required, since the spacecraft did not pass directly over Airy-0 until almost the end of the MGS primary mission, on orbit 8280 (January 13, 2001).

    In the left figure above, the outlines of the Mariner 9, Viking, and Mars Global Surveyor images are shown on a MOC wide angle context image, M23-00924. In the right figure, sections of each of the three images showing the crater Airy-0 are presented. A is a piece of the Mariner 9 image, B is from the Viking image, and C is from the MGS image. Airy-0 is the larger crater toward the top-center in each frame.

    The MOC observations of Airy-0 not only provide a detailed geological close-up of this historic reference feature, they will be used to improve our knowledge of the locations of all features on Mars, which will in turn enable more precise landings on the Red Planet by future spacecraft and explorers.

  14. Light Lithophile Elements in Natural and Experimental Phases in Martian Basalts: Implications for the Degassing of Water from Martian Magmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herd, C. D. K.; Treiman, A. H.; McKay, G. A.; Shearer, C. K.

    2003-01-01

    Lentz et al. argued that zoning trends in light lithophile elements (LLE) in pyroxene in Shergotty and Zagami are evidence for the degassing of magmatic water. We tested this inference by obtaining: additional LLE analyses of Shergotty and Zagami pyroxene; analyses of Pasamonte pyroxene; and silicate and phosphate partition coefficients for B and Li for martian magma and mineral compositions.

  15. Insights into the Martian Regolith from Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCubbin, Francis M.; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Szabo, Timea; Santos, Alison R.; Domokos, Gabor; Vazquez, Jorge; Moser, Desmond E.; Jerolmack, Douglas J.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Tartese, Romain

    2015-01-01

    Everything we know about sedimentary processes on Mars is gleaned from remote sensing observations. Here we report insights from meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, which is a water-rich martian regolith breccia that hosts both igneous and sedimentary clasts. The sedimentary clasts in NWA 7034 are poorly-sorted clastic siltstones that we refer to as protobreccia clasts. These protobreccia clasts record aqueous alteration process that occurred prior to breccia formation. The aqueous alteration appears to have occurred at relatively low Eh, high pH conditions based on the co-precipitation of pyrite and magnetite, and the concomitant loss of SiO2 from the system. To determine the origin of the NWA 7034 breccia, we examined the textures and grain-shape characteristics of NWA 7034 clasts. The shapes of the clasts are consistent with rock fragmentation in the absence of transport. Coupled with the clast size distribution, we interpret the protolith of NWA 7034 to have been deposited by atmospheric rainout resulting from pyroclastic eruptions and/or asteroid impacts. Cross-cutting and inclusion relationships and U-Pb data from zircon, baddelleyite, and apatite indicate NWA 7034 lithification occurred at 1.4-1.5 Ga, during a short-lived hydrothermal event at 600-700 C that was texturally imprinted upon the submicron groundmass. The hydrothermal event caused Pb-loss from apatite and U-rich metamict zircons, and it caused partial transformation of pyrite to submicron mixtures of magnetite and maghemite, indicating the fluid had higher Eh than the fluid that caused pyrite-magnetite precipitation in the protobreccia clasts. NWA 7034 also hosts ancient 4.4 Ga crustal materials in the form of baddelleyites and zircons, providing up to a 2.9 Ga record of martian geologic history. This work demonstrates the incredible value of sedimentary basins as scientific targets for Mars sample return missions, but it also highlights the importance of targeting samples that have not been

  16. Laboratory Shock Experiments on Basalt - Iron Sulfate Mixes at ~ 40 - 50 GPa and their Relevance to the Martian Reolith Component Present in Shergotties

    SciTech Connect

    Rao, M N; Nyquist, L E; Ross, D K; Asimow, P D; See, T; Sutton, S; Cardernas, F; Montes, R; Cintala, M

    2012-03-14

    Basaltic shergottites such as Shergotty, Zagami and EET79001 contain impact melt glass pockets that are rich in Martian atmospheric gases and are known as gas-rich impact-melt (GRIM) glasses. These glasses show evidence for the presence of a Martian regolith component based on Sm and Kr isotopic studies. The GRIM glasses are sometimes embedded with clusters of innumerable micron-sized iron-sulfide blebs associated with minor amounts of iron sulfate particles. These sulfide blebs are secondary in origin and are not related to the primary igneous sulfides occurring in Martian meteorites. The material comprising these glasses arises from the highly oxidizing Martian surface and sulfur is unlikely to occur as sulfide in the Martian regoilith. Instead, sulfur is shown to occur as sulfate based on APXS and Mossbauer results obtained by the Opportunity and Spirit rovers at Meridiani and Gusev. We have earlier suggested that the micron-sized iron sulfide globules in GRIM glasses were likely produced by shock-reduction of iron sulfate occurring in the regolith at the time when the GRIM glasses were produced by the meteoroid impact that launched the Martian meteorites into space. As a result of high energy deposition by shock (~ 40-60 GPa), the iron sulfate bearing phases are likely to melt along with other regolith components and will get reduced to immiscible sulfide fluid under reducing conditions. On quenching, this generates a dispersion of micron-scale sulfide blebs. The reducing agents in our case are likely to be H2 and CO which were shock-implanted from the Martian atmosphere into these glasses along with the noble gases. We conducted lab simulation experiments in the Lindhurst Laboratory of Experimental Geophysics at Caltech and the Experimental Impact Laboratory at JSC to test whether iron sulfide globules can be produced by impact-driven reduction of iron sulfate by subjecting Columbia River Basalt (CRB) and ferric sulfate mixtures to shock pressures

  17. Laboratory Shock Experiments on Basalt - Iron Sulfate Mixes at Approximately 40-50 GPa and Their Relevance to the Martian Regolith Component Present in Shergottites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rao, M. N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Ross, D. K.; Asimow, P. D.; See, T.; Sutton, S.; Cardernas, F.; Montes, R.; Cintala, M.

    2012-01-01

    Basaltic shergottites such as Shergotty, Zagami and EET79001 contain impact melt glass pockets that are rich in Martian atmospheric gases [1] and are known as gas-rich impact-melt (GRIM) glasses. These glasses show evidence for the presence of a Martian regolith component based on Sm and Kr isotopic studies [2]. The GRIM glasses are sometimes embedded with clusters of innumerable micron-sized iron-sulfide blebs associated with minor amounts of iron sulfate particles [3, 4]. These sulfide blebs are secondary in origin and are not related to the primary igneous sulfides occurring in Martian meteorites. The material comprising these glasses arises from the highly oxidizing Martian surface and sulfur is unlikely to occur as sulfide in the Martian regoilith. Instead, sulfur is shown to occur as sulfate based on APXS and Mossbauer results obtained by the Opportunity and Spirit rovers at Meridiani and Gusev [5]. We have earlier suggested that the micron-sized iron sulfide globules in GRIM glasses were likely produced by shock-reduction of iron sulfate occurring in the regolith at the time when the GRIM glasses were produced by the meteoroid impact that launched the Martian meteorites into space [6]. As a result of high energy deposition by shock (approx. 40-60 GPa), the iron sulfate bearing phases are likely to melt along with other regolith components and will get reduced to immiscible sulfide fluid under reducing conditions. On quenching, this generates a dispersion of micron-scale sulfide blebs. The reducing agents in our case are likely to be H2 and CO which were shock-implanted from the Martian atmosphere into these glasses along with the noble gases. We conducted lab simulation experiments in the Lindhurst Laboratory of Experimental Geophysics at Caltech and the Experimental Impact Laboratory at JSC to test whether iron sulfide globules can be produced by impact-driven reduction of iron sulfate by subjecting Columbia River Basalt (CRB) and ferric sulfate mixtures to

  18. Antidiabetic Agents.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Plummer, Nancy; Michael, Nancy, Ed.

    This module on antidiabetic agents is intended for use in inservice or continuing education programs for persons who administer medications in long-term care facilities. Instructor information, including teaching suggestions, and a listing of recommended audiovisual materials and their sources appear first. The module goal and objectives are then…

  19. Evolution of the martian mantle as recorded by igneous rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balta, J. B.; McSween, H. Y.

    2013-12-01

    Martian igneous rocks provide our best window into the current state of the martian mantle and its evolution after accretion and differentiation. Currently, those rocks have been examined in situ by rovers, characterized in general from orbiting spacecraft, and analyzed in terrestrial laboratories when found as meteorites. However, these data have the potential to bias our understanding of martian magmatism, as most of the available meteorites and rover-analyzed rocks come from the Amazonian (<2 Ga) and Hesperian (~3.65 Ga) periods respectively, while igneous rocks from the Noachian (>3.8 Ga) have only been examined by orbiters and as the unique meteorite ALH 84001. After initial differentiation, the main planetary-scale changes in the structure of Mars which impact igneous compositions are cooling of the planet and thickening of the crust with time. As the shergottite meteorites give ages <500 Ma1, they might be expected to represent thick-crust, recent volcanism. Using spacecraft measurements of volcanic compositions and whole rock compositions of meteorites, we demonstrate that the shergottite meteorites do not match the composition of the igneous rocks composing the young volcanoes on Mars, particularly in their silica content, and no crystallization or crustal contamination trend reproduces the volcanoes from a shergottite-like parent magma. However, we show that the shergottite magmas do resemble older martian rocks in composition and mineralogy. The Noachian-aged meteorite ALH 84001 has similar radiogenic-element signatures to the shergottites and may derive from a similar mantle source despite the age difference2. Thus, shergottite-like magmas may represent melting of mantle sources that were much more abundant early in martian history. We propose that the shergottites represent the melting products of an originally-hydrous martian mantle, containing at least several hundred ppm H2O. Dissolved water can increase the silica content of magmas and thus

  20. Laboratory experiments to explore the sediment transport capacity of carbon dioxide sublimation under martian conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sylvest, Matthew; Conway, Susan; Patel, Manish; Dixon, John; Barnes, Adam

    2015-04-01

    Every spring, the solid carbon dioxide deposited over the martian high latitudes sublimates. Several, unusual surface features, including dark spots and flows on sand dunes, as well as recent activity in martian gullies, have been associated with this CO2 sublimation. Water and/or brines have also been proposed as potential agents for these events, but the timing of these phenomena suggest CO2 sublimation is more likely. However, the exact mechanism by which CO2 sublimation moves sediment is not fully understood, and this understanding is required to validate the CO2 hypothesis. Here we present the results of the first ever laboratory simulations of this process under martian conditions, and show that significant quantities of loose sediment can be transported. The centrepiece of the apparatus is a 1m diameter, 2m long Mars simulation chamber, housed at The Open University, UK. JSC Mars-1A regolith simulant was formed into a slope, inside a box, ~30 cm long, 23 cm wide by 12 cm deep. The box is constructed of coiled, copper tubing to allow cooling of the regolith by liquid nitrogen. The experimental procedure consists of four stages: 1) establishment of a dry atmosphere in the chamber, 2) cooling the regolith sufficiently to support condensation of CO2 frost at reduced pressure, 3) introduction of cooled CO2 gas above the regolith to deposit as frost, and 4) video recording the surface evolution under radiant heating (~100 mins). Two High Definition digital video cameras were mounted above the box and image pairs taken from the videos were then used to create digital elevation models (DEMs) in Agisoft Photoscan at regular intervals. In our initial experiments we performed four experimental runs where the slope was set at or near the angle of repose (~30°). In each case we observed mass wasting events triggered by the sublimation of the deposited CO2 over the whole duration of the insolation. The highest levels of activity occurred in the first third of the run

  1. Mitigating Adverse Effects of a Human Mission on Possible Martian Indigenous Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lupisella, M. L.

    2000-01-01

    Although human beings are, by most standards, the most capable agents to search for and detect extraterrestrial life, we are also potentially the most harmful. While there has been substantial work regarding forward contamination with respect to robotic missions, the issue of potential adverse effects on possible indigenous Martian ecosystems, such as biological contamination, due to a human mission has remained relatively unexplored and may require our attention now as this presentation will try to demonstrate by exploring some of the relevant scientific questions, mission planning challenges, and policy issues. An informal, high-level mission planning decision tree will be discussed and is included as the next page of this abstract. Some of the questions to be considered are: (1) To what extent could contamination due to a human presence compromise possible indigenous life forms? (2) To what extent can we control contamination? For example, will it be local or global? (3) What are the criteria for assessing the biological status of Mars, both regionally and globally? For example, can we adequately extrapolate from a few strategic missions such as sample return missions? (4) What should our policies be regarding our mission planning and possible interaction with what are likely to be microbial forms of extraterrestrial life? (5) Central to the science and mission planning issues is the role and applicability of terrestrial analogs, such as Lake Vostok for assessing drilling issues, and modeling techniques. Central to many of the policy aspects are scientific value, international law, public concern, and ethics. Exploring this overall issue responsibly requires an examination of all these aspects and how they interrelate. A chart is included, titled 'Mission Planning Decision Tree for Mitigating Adverse Effects to Possible Indigenous Martian Ecosystems due to a Human Mission'. It outlines what questions scientists should ask and answer before sending humans to Mars.

  2. Mitigating Adverse Effects of a Human Mission on Possible Martian Indigenous Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupisella, M. L.

    2000-07-01

    Although human beings are, by most standards, the most capable agents to search for and detect extraterrestrial life, we are also potentially the most harmful. While there has been substantial work regarding forward contamination with respect to robotic missions, the issue of potential adverse effects on possible indigenous Martian ecosystems, such as biological contamination, due to a human mission has remained relatively unexplored and may require our attention now as this presentation will try to demonstrate by exploring some of the relevant scientific questions, mission planning challenges, and policy issues. An informal, high-level mission planning decision tree will be discussed and is included as the next page of this abstract. Some of the questions to be considered are: (1) To what extent could contamination due to a human presence compromise possible indigenous life forms? (2) To what extent can we control contamination? For example, will it be local or global? (3) What are the criteria for assessing the biological status of Mars, both regionally and globally? For example, can we adequately extrapolate from a few strategic missions such as sample return missions? (4) What should our policies be regarding our mission planning and possible interaction with what are likely to be microbial forms of extraterrestrial life? (5) Central to the science and mission planning issues is the role and applicability of terrestrial analogs, such as Lake Vostok for assessing drilling issues, and modeling techniques. Central to many of the policy aspects are scientific value, international law, public concern, and ethics. Exploring this overall issue responsibly requires an examination of all these aspects and how they interrelate. A chart is included, titled 'Mission Planning Decision Tree for Mitigating Adverse Effects to Possible Indigenous Martian Ecosystems due to a Human Mission'. It outlines what questions scientists should ask and answer before sending humans to Mars.

  3. Modeling Cooling Rates of Martian Flood Basalt Columns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, D. K.; Jackson, B.; Milazzo, M. P.; Barnes, J. W.

    2011-12-01

    Columnar jointing in large basalt flows have been extensively studied and can provide important clues about the emplacement conditions and cooling history of a basalt flow. The recent discovery of basalt columns on Mars in crater walls near Marte Vallis provides an opportunity to infer conditions on early Mars when the Martian basalt flows were laid down. Comparison of the Martian columns to Earth analogs allows us to gain further insight into the early Martian climate, and among the best terrestrial analogs are the basalt columns in the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) in eastern Washington. The CRBG is one of the youngest (< 17 Myrs old) and most extensively studied basalt provinces in the world, extending over 163,700 square km with total thickness exceeding 1 km in some places. The morphologies and textures of CRBG basalt columns suggest that in many places flows ~100 m thick cooled at uniform rates, even deep in the flow interior. Such cooling seems to require the presence of water in the column joints since the flow interiors should have cooled much more slowly than the flow margins if conductive cooling dominated. Secondary features, such pillow basalts, likewise suggest the basalt flows were in direct contact with standing water in many places. At the resolution provided by the orbiting HiRISE camera (0.9 m), the Martian basalt columns resemble the CRBG columns in many respects, and so, subject to important caveats, inferences linking the morphologies of the CRBG columns to their thermal histories can be extended in some respects to the Martian columns. In this presentation, we will describe our analysis of the HiRISE images of the Martian columns and what can be reasonably inferred about their thermal histories and the conditions under which they were emplaced. We will also report on a field expedition to the CRBG in eastern Washington State. During that expedition, we surveyed basalt column outcrops on the ground and from the air using Unmanned Aerial

  4. Laboratory Simulations of Martian Meteorite Impacts and Their Seismic Signatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kedar, S.; Richardson, J. E.; Harvey, N. E.; Perry, D. C.; Bowling, T. J.; Kanamori, H.; Webb, F.; Li, M.; Garnero, E. J.

    2012-12-01

    Recent satellite images have revealed that meteorites regularly impact the Martian surface. Such impacts provide a constant background of planet-wide seismicity, and add a substantial number of seismic sources to an otherwise seismically quiet planet, with a natural quake rate estimated to be ~1000 times lower than on Earth. This is a potentially rich and relatively unexplored source of seismic activity that may be used to answer fundamental questions about the planet's internal structure, such as the size and nature of the core, the composition and layering of the mantle, and the planets crustal thickness and variability. Determining whether meteoritic impacts can be used as seismic sources for studying the Martian interior depends directly upon two fundamental parameters: (1) the rate of transfer of momentum to the elastic medium as defined by an impact's source-time function (or its power spectrum); and (2) the efficiency with which the kinetic energy of the impacting body is transferred to seismic energy. However, uncertainty of the impact source time function, combined with the wide range of impact seismic efficiency factors observed in various settings, makes it very difficult to determine the efficacy of natural impacts for seismic exploration. To overcome these challenges, we have begun a campaign combining impact laboratory experiments and numerical simulations with the goal of determining how well the observed meteoritic impact distribution on Mars can be used to resolve the Martian interior structure. To simulate the seismic signals expected from meteorite impacts on the Martian surface, we carried out a series of high velocity impact experiments at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range (AVGR) facility. The experiments spanned a variety of projectile impact velocities and angles, and were carried out in near vacuum conditions to mimic Martian atmospheric conditions. Seismic sensors were embedded in target material analogous to the Martian surface and were

  5. Antiparasitic agents.

    PubMed

    Rosenblatt, J E

    1999-11-01

    Several important developments have occurred in recent years in the chemotherapy for and prophylaxis of parasitic infections. Although mefloquine is clearly the most effective agent for prevention of chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria, its use has been compromised by side effects, both real and imagined. Well-designed studies have shown that side effects occur no more frequently with low-dose mefloquine than with chloroquine. Use of mefloquine in pregnant women has not been associated with birth defects, but the incidence of stillbirths may be increased. Malarone is a new agent that combines atovaquone and proguanil, and it may be as effective as mefloquine; however, it is not yet available in the United States. Several newer agents have appeared in response to the development of multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum, especially in Southeast Asia. Halofantrine is available for the treatment of mild to moderate malaria due to P. falciparum and for P. vivax infections. Because of severe toxic effects, use of halofantrine should be restricted to only those unusual and rare situations in which other agents cannot be used. Artemisinin (an extract of the Chinese herbal remedy qinghaosu) and two derivatives, artesunate and artemether, are active against multidrug resistant P. falciparum and are widely used in Asia in oral, parenteral, and rectal forms. The antibacterial azithromycin in combination with atovaquone or quinine has now been reported to treat babesiosis effectively in experimental animals and in a few patients. Azithromycin in combination with paromomycin has also shown promise in the treatment of cryptosporidiosis (and toxoplasmosis when combined with pyrimethamine) in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Albendazole is currently the only systemic agent available for treatment of microsporidiosis, an infection primarily of patients with AIDS. In addition, albendazole and ivermectin have emerged as effective broad

  6. Geochemistry and setting of Martian weathering: The Lafayette meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.; Barrett, R. A.; Gooding, J. L.

    1992-01-01

    Lafayette, one of the SNC (martian) meteorites, contains preterrestrial alteration materials rich in smectite and ferric oxides. The compositions and textures of the veinlets suggest that they were formed in episodic alteration events by waters that contained a relatively small load of dissolved salts. The Lafayette achondrite, one of the nakhlites of probable martian origin, is an igneous rock consisting mostly of augite and olivine, with interstitial feldspar, sulfides (pyrite), high-Si glass, and other phases. Like Nakhla itself, Lafayette contains veinlets of hydrous alteration materials. We studied thin sections of sample ME2116 (Field Museum, Chicago), using scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS).

  7. The vertical distribution of Martian aerosol particle size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzewich, Scott D.; Smith, Michael D.; Wolff, Michael J.

    2014-12-01

    Using approximately 410 limb-viewing observations from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), we retrieve the vertical distribution of Martian dust and water ice aerosol particle sizes. We find that dust particles have an effective radius of 1.0 µm over much of the atmospheric column below 40 km throughout the Martian year. This includes the detached tropical dust layers detected in previous studies. Little to no variation with height is seen in dust particle size. Water ice clouds within the aphelion cloud belt exhibit a strong sorting of particle size with height, however, and the effective radii range from >3 µm below 20 km to near 1.0 µm at 40 km altitude. Conversely, water ice clouds in the seasonal polar hoods show a near-uniform particle size with an effective radius of approximately 1.5 µm throughout the atmospheric column.

  8. Weathering processes implied from analysis of small Martian avalanche chutes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sullivan, R.

    1992-01-01

    It has been proposed that the smaller features of martian spur and gully slope morphology, located along the upper walls of Valles Marineris, are avalanche chutes. A three-dimensional stability back-analysis technique was developed and applied to these small avalanche chutes, yielding average values of cohesion and angle of internal friction for the mobile layer materials on these slopes at the time of each slope failure. Generally, the analysis showed that at the time of each slope failure material strengths had been reduced to those of moderately cohesive debris down through depths of tens of meters. These results have implications and possible constraints for the nature and rate of martian weathering processes.

  9. The Martian valley networks: Origin by niveo-fluvial processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rice, J. W., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    The valley networks may hold the key to unlocking the paleoclimatic history of Mars. These enigmatic landforms may be regarded as the Martian equivalent of the Rosetta Stone. Therefore, a more thorough understanding of their origin and evolution is required. However, there is still no consensus among investigators regarding the formation (runoff vs. sapping) of these features. Recent climatic modeling precludes warm (0 degrees C) globally averaged surface temperatures prior to 2 b.y. when solar luminosity was 25-30 percent less than present levels. This paper advocates snowmelt as the dominant process responsible for the formation of the dendritic valley networks. Evidence for Martian snowfall and subsequent melt has been discussed in previous studies.

  10. The age of the carbonates in martian meteorite ALH84001.

    PubMed

    Borg, L E; Connelly, J N; Nyquist, L E; Shih, C Y; Wiesmann, H; Reese, Y

    1999-10-01

    The age of secondary carbonate mineralization in the martian meteorite ALH84001 was determined to be 3.90 +/- 0.04 billion years by rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr) dating and 4.04 +/- 0.10 billion years by lead-lead (Pb-Pb) dating. The Rb-Sr and Pb-Pb isochrons are defined by leachates of a mixture of high-graded carbonate (visually estimated as approximately 5 percent), whitlockite (trace), and orthopyroxene (approximately 95 percent). The carbonate formation age is contemporaneous with a period in martian history when the surface is thought to have had flowing water, but also was undergoing heavy bombardment by meteorites. Therefore, this age does not distinguish between aqueous and impact origins for the carbonates. PMID:10506566

  11. S.A.M., the Italian Martian Simulation Chamber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galletta, G.; Ferri, F.; Fanti, G.; D'Alessandro, M.; Bertoloni, G.; Pavarin, D.; Bettanini, C.; Cozza, P.; Pretto, P.; Bianchini, G.; Debei, S.

    2006-12-01

    The Martian Environment Simulator (SAM “Simulatore di Ambiente Marziano”) is a interdisciplinary project of Astrobiology done at University of Padua. The research is aimed to the study of the survival of the microorganisms exposed to the “extreme” planetary environment. The facility has been designed in order to simulate Mars’ environmental conditions in terms of atmospheric pressure, temperature cycles and UV radiation dose. The bacterial cells, contained into dedicated capsules, will be exposed to thermal cycles simulating diurnal and seasonal Martian cycles. The metabolism of the different biological samples will be analysed at different phases of the experiment, to study their survival and eventual activity of protein synthesis (mortality, mutations and capability of DNA reparing). We describe the experimental facility and provide the perspectives of the biological experiments we will perform in order to provide hints on the possibility of life on Mars either autochthonous or imported from Earth.

  12. Martian Methane From a Cometary Source: A Hypothesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fries, M.; Christou, A.; Archer, D.; Conrad, P.; Cooke, W.; Eigenbrode, J.; ten Kate, I. L.; Matney, M.; Niles, P.; Sykes, M.; Steele, A.; Treiman, A.

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, methane in the martian atmosphere has been detected by Earth-based spectroscopy, the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer on the ESA Mars Express mission, and the NASA Mars Science Laboratory. The methane's origin remains a mystery, with proposed sources including volcanism, exogenous sources like impacts and interplanetary dust, aqueous alteration of olivine in the presence of carbonaceous material, release from ancient deposits of methane clathrates, and/or biological activity. An additional potential source exists: meteor showers from the emission of large comet dust particles could generate martian methane via UV pyrolysis of carbon-rich infall material. We find a correlation between the dates of Mars/cometary orbit encounters and detections of methane on Mars. We hypothesize that cometary debris falls onto Mars during these interactions, generating methane via UV photolysis.

  13. Martian atmospheric chemistry during the time of low water abundance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nair, Hari; Allen, Mark; Yung, Yuk L.; Clancy, R. Todd

    1992-01-01

    The importance of odd hydrogen (or HO(x)) radicals in the catalytic recombination of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the Martian atmosphere is a well known fact. The inclusion of recent chemical kinetics data, specifically temperature-dependent CO2 absorption cross sections, into our one dimensional photochemical model shows that HO(x) is too efficient in this regard. The absorption cross sections of CO2 are smaller than previously assumed; this leads to a reduction in the photolysis rate of CO2 while the photolysis rate of H2O has increased. As a consequence the predicted mixing ratio of CO in our models is substantially less than the observed value of 6.5(10)(exp -4). Simultaneous measurements of water, ozone, and carbon monoxide were obtained in the Martian atmosphere in early Dec. 1990 (L(sub s) for Mars was 344 deg.).

  14. Planetary Aeronomy. 2; NO2 In the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warneck, P.; Marmo, F. F.

    1963-01-01

    The transmission curve of the Martian atmosphere derived by Opik is compared with transmission curves of an atmosphere containing various amounts of nitrogen dioxide. It is found that the amount of 6 x l0(exp 18) sq cm column NO2 (or even less) given by Sinton as an upper limit for the Martian NO2 content could adequately explain the phenomenon of the blue haze. This finding made it worthwhile to investigate the effect of the temperature and pressure sensitive equilibrium 2 NO2 reversibly yields N204 upon the total NO2 content and the altitude-number density distributions of NO2 and N204. Computations were carried out for surface temperatures of 273 K, 243 K, 213 K, and 183 K and for three different temperature distributions. The discussion of the results leads to the suggestion of several important new experiments.

  15. Numerical Model Studies of the Martian Mesoscale Circulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Segal, M.; Arritt, R. W.

    1996-01-01

    Studies concerning mesoscale topographical effects on Martian flows examined low-level jets in the near equatorial latitudes and the dynamical intensification of flow by steep terrain. Continuation of work from previous years included evaluating the dissipation of cold air mass outbreaks due to enhanced sensible heat flux, further sensitivity and scaling evaluations for generalization of the characteristics of Martian mesoscale circulation caused by horizontal sensible heat-flux gradients, and evaluations of the significance that non-uniform surface would have on enhancing the polar CO2 ice sublimation during the spring. The sensitivity of maximum and minimum atmospheric temperatures to changes in wind speed, surface albedo, and deep soil temperature was investigated.

  16. Mineral Biomarkers in Martian Meteorite Allan Hills 84001?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Bazylinski, D. A.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S.; Golden, D. C.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.; Romanek, C. S.

    1998-01-01

    The occurrence of fine-grained magnetite in the Fe-rich rims surrounding carbonate globules in the martian meteorite ALH84001, originally described in , have been proposed as fossil remains of primitive martian organisms. Here we report observations on size and shape distributions of magnetites from ALH84001 and compare them to biogenic and inorganic magnetite crystals of terrestrial origin. While some magnetite morphology is not unequivocally diagnostic for its biogenicity, such as cubodial forms of magnetite, which are common in inorganically formed magnetites, other morphologies of magnetite (parallel-epiped or elongated prismatic and arrowhead forms) are more likely signatures of biogenic activity. Some ALH 84001 magnetite particles described below have unique morphology and length-to-width ratios that are indistinguishable from a variety of terrestrial biogenic magnetite and distinct from all known inorganic forms of magnetite.

  17. Electrostatic Characteristics of Materials Exposed to Martian Simulant Dust Particles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calle, C. I.; Kim, H. S.; Young, S.; Jackson, D.; Lombardi, A. J.

    1998-11-01

    The Pathfinder mission to Mars identified Andesitic rock as the primary type of rock at the landing site. Several experiments were designed at NASA/Kennedy Space Center to determine the charging characteristics of common space materials exposed to small particles derived from those rocks. MARS-1, a Martian soil simulant prepared from Andesitic rocks by NASA/JSC was used in this work. Characterization of this simulant was made using scanning electron microscopy and inductively coupled argon plasma spectroscopy coupled with a carbon-sulfur detector. These results were compared to the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer analysis on Pathfinder. The simulant was found to be a suitable substitute for Martian soil for our purposes. Two experimental designs and methods to simulate the exposure of different materials to wind-blown dust were made. These designs permit dust particle delivery to samples at different speeds. Initial experiments made with these designs to determine their viability were promising.

  18. The Martian paleoclimate and enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cess, R. D.; Owen, T.; Ramanathan, V.

    1980-01-01

    Current evidence indicates that the Martian surface is abundant with water presently in the form of ice, while the atmosphere was at one time more massive with a past surface pressure of as much as 1 atm of CO2. In an attempt to understand the Martian paleoclimate, a past CO2-H2O greenhouse was modeled and global temperatures which are consistent with an earlier presence of liquid surface water are found in agreement with the extensive evidence for past fluvial erosion. An important aspect of the CO2-H2O greenhouse model is the detailed inclusion of CO2 hot bands. For a surface pressure of 1 atm of CO2, the present greenhouse model predicts a global mean surface temperature of 294 K, but if the hot bands are excluded, a surface temperature of only 250 K is achieved.

  19. Microscopic Views of Martian Soils and Evidence for Incipient Diagenesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goetz, W.; Madsen, M. B.; Bridges, N.; Clark, B.; Edgett, K. S.; Fisk, M.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Hviid, S. F.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Ming, D. W.; Newsom, H.; Sullivan, R.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.

    2014-01-01

    Mars landed missions returned im-ages at increasingly higher spatial resolution (Table 1). These images help to constrain the microstructure of Martian soils, i.e. the grain-by-grain association of chemistry and mineralogy with secondary properties, such as albedo, color, magnetic properties, and mor-phology (size, shape, texture). The secondary charac-teristics are controlled by mineralogical composition as well as the geo-setting (transport and weathering modes, e.g. water supply, pH, atmospheric properties, exposure to radiation, etc.). As of today this association is poorly constrained. However, it is important to un-derstand soil-forming processes on the surface of Mars. Here we analyze high-resolution images of soils re-turned by different landed missions. Eventually these images must be combined with other types of data (chemistry and mineralogy at small spatial scale) to nail down the microstructure of Martian soils.

  20. Filter Media Tests Under Simulated Martian Atmospheric Conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Agui, Juan H.

    2016-01-01

    Human exploration of Mars will require the optimal utilization of planetary resources. One of its abundant resources is the Martian atmosphere that can be harvested through filtration and chemical processes that purify and separate it into its gaseous and elemental constituents. Effective filtration needs to be part of the suite of resource utilization technologies. A unique testing platform is being used which provides the relevant operational and instrumental capabilities to test articles under the proper simulated Martian conditions. A series of tests were conducted to assess the performance of filter media. Light sheet imaging of the particle flow provided a means of detecting and quantifying particle concentrations to determine capturing efficiencies. The media's efficiency was also evaluated by gravimetric means through a by-layer filter media configuration. These tests will help to establish techniques and methods for measuring capturing efficiency and arrestance of conventional fibrous filter media. This paper will describe initial test results on different filter media.

  1. Factors Controlling the Position of the Martian Magnetic Pileup Boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crider, D. H.; Acuna, M.; Vignes, D.; Krymskii, A.; Breus, T.; Ness, N.

    2003-01-01

    The magnetic pileup boundary (MPB) at Mars is the position where the dominant ion of the plasma changes from solar wind protons to heavy ions of planetary origin. As such, it is the obstacle to solar wind ions. We investigate the factors that influence the shape and position of the magnetic pileup boundary at Mars in order to better understand the Martian obstacle to the solar wind. Employing MGS data, we determine how the Martian MPB moves in response to factors including solar wind pressure and crustal magnetic fields. We also study the factors affecting the thickness of the MPB. Further, we compare the magnetic pileup boundary to the magnetic barrier at Venus. Direct comparison aids in our interpretation of the physics involved in the solar wind interaction with planets lacking a significant intrinsic magnetic field.

  2. Martian Radiation Environment: Model Calculations and Recent Measurements with "MARIE"

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Saganti, P. B.; Cucinotta, F. A.; zeitlin, C. J.; Cleghorn, T. F.

    2004-01-01

    The Galactic Cosmic Ray spectra in Mars orbit were generated with the recently expanded HZETRN (High Z and Energy Transport) and QMSFRG (Quantum Multiple-Scattering theory of nuclear Fragmentation) model calculations. These model calculations are compared with the first eighteen months of measured data from the MARIE (Martian Radiation Environment Experiment) instrument onboard the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft that is currently in Martian orbit. The dose rates observed by the MARIE instrument are within 10% of the model calculated predictions. Model calculations are compared with the MARIE measurements of dose, dose-equivalent values, along with the available particle flux distribution. Model calculated particle flux includes GCR elemental composition of atomic number, Z = 1-28 and mass number, A = 1-58. Particle flux calculations specific for the current MARIE mapping period are reviewed and presented.

  3. Studies of Martian polar regions. [using CO2 flow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, C. I.; Clark, B. R.; Eschman, D. F.

    1974-01-01

    The flow law determined experimentally for solid CO2 establishes that an hypothesis of glacial flow of CO2 at the Martian poles is not physically unrealistic. Compression experiments carried out under 1 atmosphere pressure and constant strain rate conditions demonstrate that the strength of CO2 near its sublimation point is considerably less than the strength of water ice near its melting point. A plausible glacial model for the Martian polar caps was constructed. The CO2 deposited near the pole would have flowed outward laterally to relieve high internal shear stresses. The topography of the polar caps, and the uniform layering and general extent of the layered deposits were explained using this model.

  4. Chemistry and mineralogy of Martian dust: An explorer's primer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gooding, James L.

    1991-01-01

    A summary of chemical and mineralogical properties of Martian surface dust is offered for the benefit of engineers or mission planners who are designing hardware or strategies for Mars surface exploration. For technical details and specialized explanations, references should be made to literature cited. Four sources used for information about Martian dust composition: (1) Experiments performed on the Mars surface by the Viking Landers 1 and 2 and Earth-based lab experiments attempting to duplicate these results; (2) Infrared spectrophotometry remotely performed from Mars orbit, mostly by Mariner 9; (3) Visible and infrared spectrophotometry remotely performed from Earth; and (4) Lab studies of the shergottite nakhlite chassignite (SNC) clan of meteorites, for which compelling evidence suggests origin on Mars. Source 1 is limited to fine grained sediments at the surface whereas 2 and 3 contain mixed information about surface dust (and associated rock) and atmospheric dust. Source 4 has provided surprisingly detailed information but investigations are still incomplete.

  5. The age of the carbonates in martian meteorite ALH84001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borg, L. E.; Connelly, J. N.; Nyquist, L. E.; Shih, C. Y.; Wiesmann, H.; Reese, Y.

    1999-01-01

    The age of secondary carbonate mineralization in the martian meteorite ALH84001 was determined to be 3.90 +/- 0.04 billion years by rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr) dating and 4.04 +/- 0.10 billion years by lead-lead (Pb-Pb) dating. The Rb-Sr and Pb-Pb isochrons are defined by leachates of a mixture of high-graded carbonate (visually estimated as approximately 5 percent), whitlockite (trace), and orthopyroxene (approximately 95 percent). The carbonate formation age is contemporaneous with a period in martian history when the surface is thought to have had flowing water, but also was undergoing heavy bombardment by meteorites. Therefore, this age does not distinguish between aqueous and impact origins for the carbonates.

  6. Extraterrestrial meteors: a martian meteor and its parent comet.

    PubMed

    Selsis, Franck; Lemmon, Mark T; Vaubaillon, Jérémie; Bell, James F

    2005-06-01

    Regular meteor showers occur when a planet approaches the orbit of a periodic comet--for example, the Leonid shower is evident around 17 November every year as Earth skims past the dusty trail of comet Tempel-Tuttle. Such showers are expected to occur on Mars as well, and on 7 March last year, the panoramic camera of Spirit, the Mars Exploration Rover, revealed a curious streak across the martian sky. Here we show that the timing and orientation of this streak, and the shape of its light curve, are consistent with the existence of a regular meteor shower associated with the comet Wiseman-Skiff, which could be characterized as martian Cepheids. PMID:15931208

  7. Martian Surface Properties: Inferences from Resolved Differences in Crater Geometries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valiant, G. J.; Stewart, S. T.

    2004-01-01

    Impact craters are a natural probe of planetary sub-surfaces, both from the excavated material and from crater geometries, which are sensitive to material properties of the target. One of the most intriguing aspects of Martian craters is the morphology of the ejecta blankets. All fresh and many older Martian craters larger than a few km are surrounded by ejecta blankets which appear fluidized, with morphologies believed to form by entrainment of liquid water. In addition to the ejecta morphology, quantitative information about the subsurface composition may be derived from geometrical measurements, e.g., rim uplift height and ejecta blanket volumes. In order to use craters to derive subsurface composition or test rampart morphology formation hypotheses, accurate measurements with quantified error estimates are required. We have developed and tested a toolkit for measurements of crater geometry using the MOLA altimetry data. Here, we present the results from geometry measurements on fresh craters in Lunae Planum and Utopia Planitia.

  8. Structure of the Martian atmosphere from Epsilon Gem occultation observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hubbard, W. B.

    1982-01-01

    Information about Martian atmospheric scale heights derived from observations of the occultation of Epsilon Gem by Mars on April 8, 1976 has been collected. The observations give data in the altitude range of about 50 to 80 km. A rough, unweighted average of results so far available yields a temperatue of approximately 165 K. Excursions of about + or - 4 K about this mean may be present as a function of both altitude and areographic coordinates.

  9. Structure of the Martian atmosphere from Epsilon Gem occultation observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hubbard, W. B.

    1978-01-01

    Information has been collected on Martian atmospheric scale heights derived from observations of the occultation of Epsilon Gem by Mars on Apr. 8, 1976; the observations give data in the altitude range of approximately 50-80 km. A rough, unweighted average of results so far available yields a temperature of approximately 165 K. Excursions of plus or minus 40 K about this mean may be present as a function of both altitude and areographic coordinates.

  10. Analogs of Martian eolian features in southwestern Egypt

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Baz, F.

    1981-01-01

    Emphasis was placed on the morphology and patterns of streaks in the Uweinat region, the relationship of topography to streak patterns, and correlation of field and laboratory studies of the desert surface sediments with color and tonal variations seen from orbit. The research objectives were to provide the necessary groundtruth information on terrestrial eolian features in order to properly interpret the orbital data and to use the interpretations as a basis for investigation of Martian eolian features.

  11. Microscopic Image of Martian Surface Material on a Silicone Substrate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on image for larger version of Figure 1

    This image taken by the Optical Microscope on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows soil sprinkled from the lander's Robot Arm scoop onto a silicone substrate. The substrate was then rotated in front of the microscope. This is the first sample collected and delivered for instrumental analysis onboard a planetary lander since NASA's Viking Mars missions of the 1970s. It is also the highest resolution image yet seen of Martian soil.

    The image is dominated by fine particles close to the resolution of the microscope. These particles have formed clumps, which may be a smaller scale version of what has been observed by Phoenix during digging of the surface material.

    The microscope took this image during Phoenix's Sol 17 (June 11), or the 17th Martian day after landing. The scale bar is 1 millimeter (0.04 inch).

    Zooming in on the Martian Soil

    In figure 1, three zoomed-in portions are shown with an image of Martian soil particles taken by the Optical Microscope on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

    The left zoom box shows a composite particle. The top of the particle has a green tinge, possibly indicating olivine. The bottom of the particle has been reimaged at a different focus position in black and white (middle zoom box), showing that this is a clump of finer particles.

    The right zoom box shows a rounded, glassy particle, similar to those which have also been seen in an earlier sample of airfall dust collected on a surface exposed during landing.

    The shadows at the bottom of image are of the beams of the Atomic Force Microscope.

    The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  12. Paleointensity of the Martian field from SQUID Microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiss, B. P.; Fong, L. E.; Lima, E. A.; Baudenbacher, F. J.; Vali, H.

    2005-12-01

    Crustal magnetic anomalies in the southern Martian hemisphere have intensities an order of magnitude larger than typical crustal anomalies on Earth. Two possible explanations for this difference are that compared to the present-day Earth, Mars has either (i) larger amounts of crustal ferromagnetic minerals or (ii) the crust was magnetized by a larger paleofield. ALH84001, the only pre-Amazonian Martian meteorite, possesses a stable magnetization dating to 4 Ga or earlier. Previous paleomagnetic studies with SQUID moment magnetometers on bulk ALH84001 grains have estimated that the paleointensity of the field which magnetized the meteorite was between 0.1-1 times that of the Earth's present field. However, these estimates may be lower limits on the true paleointensity because the orientation of the magnetization in ALH84001 is spatially heterogeneous on the submillimeter scale. This complication could have profound implications for hypothesis (ii) above. Here we first demonstrate that superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) microscopy can recover the same magnetization intensity and direction of a well characterized modern-day terrestrial basalt as that measured with a 2G Enterprises SQUID moment magnetometer. A SQUID microscope paleointensity analysis of this basalt gives the expected present day field intensity of a few tens of microtesla. We further show that our new high resolution SQUID microscopy study of ALH84001, which has mapped its heterogeneous magnetization with the highest resolution yet (0.1 mm), favors the upper range of previous paleointensity estimates for the 4 Ga Martian paleofield (e.g., within a factor of several of that of the present-day Earth). However, this field, were it dynamo in origin, is still too weak to easily explain the intensity of the Martian magnetic anomalies.

  13. Comparing Martian chaotic terrains with their terrestrial analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossi, A. P.; Chicarro, A.; Huvenna, V.; Henriet, J. P.; Di Lorenzo, S.; Neukum, G.; HRSC Co-Investigator Team

    2005-08-01

    Martian chaotic terrains have some morphological resemblance with certain terrestrial submarine slope failures [1]. We are comparing a few chaos areas on Mars with an ancient slope failure in the Porcupine Basin, offshore SW Ireland [2]. Disrupted terrains (chaos) occur extensively on Mars, even if most strictly named chaos are concentrated in the outflow channels source region, close to the Eastern part of Valles Marineris canyon system. Mesas in Martian chaos areas are usually up to a few tens of km wide, whereas knobs are usually from a few hundred meters to a few km. Instead, blocks in the Porcupine slope failure are up to a few hundred meters wide. The blocks (or mesas) in Porcupine slope failure occupy an average of about 42% of the area. The percentage of undisrupted mesas however varies across the slope failure. Preliminary measurements in Aureum and Hydaspis chaos on Mars show comparable but slightly lower percentage of preserved mesas (25-30%). Locally in chaotic terrain-like areas such as the area north of Deuteronilus Mensae, the percentage of preserved blocks is around 15%, possibly due to further degradation and erosion of the mesas. Fluidization possibly occurs on both Martian chaotic terrains and in this terrestrial submarine failure. It is not clear yet whether basal sliding, present in the Porcupine Basin, has occurred in certain Martian chaotic terrains, and therefore we are using HRSC data to provide constraints. Multiple processes, such as rapid fluidization and sapping, could have produced polygonal morphologies on Mars. The Porcupine Basin slope failure could be of help in understanding the mechanism of chaos formation on Mars. References: [1] Nummedal, D. and Prior D. B., 1981, Icarus 45, 77-86. [2] Huvenne, V.A.I., Croker, P.F. & Henriet, J. P., 2002, Terra Nova, 14, 33-40.

  14. Low computation vision-based navigation for a Martian rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.

    1994-01-01

    Construction and design details of the Mobot Vision System, a small, self-contained, mobile vision system, are presented. This system uses the view from the top of a small, roving, robotic vehicle to supply data that is processed in real-time to safely navigate the surface of Mars. A simple, low-computation algorithm for constructing a 3-D navigational map of the Martian environment to be used by the rover is discussed.

  15. Martian sub-crustal stress from gravity and topographic models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tenzer, Robert; Eshagh, Mehdi; Jin, Shuanggen

    2015-09-01

    The latest Martian gravity and topographic models derived from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter and the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft tracking data are used to compute the sub-crustal stress field on Mars. For this purpose, we apply the method for a simultaneous determination of the horizontal sub-crustal stress component and the crustal thickness based on solving the Navier-Stokes problem and incorporating the Vening Meinesz-Moritz inverse problem of isostasy. Results reveal that most of the Martian sub-crustal stress is concentrated in the Tharsis region, with the most prominent signatures attributed to a formation of Tharsis major volcanoes followed by crustal loading. The stress distribution across the Valles Marineris rift valleys indicates extensional tectonism. This finding agrees with more recent theories of a tectonic origin of Valles Marineris caused, for instance, by a crustal loading of the Tharsis bulge that resulted in a regional trusting and folding. Aside from these features, the Martian stress field is relatively smooth with only a slightly enhanced pattern of major impact basins. The signatures of active global tectonics and polar ice load are absent. Whereas the signature of the hemispheric dichotomy is also missing, the long-wavelength spectrum of the stress field comprises the signature of additional dichotomy attributed to the isostatically uncompensated crustal load of Tharsis volcanic accumulations. These results suggest a different origin of the Earth's and Martian sub-crustal stress. Whereas the former is mainly related to active global tectonics, the latter is generated by a crustal loading and regional tectonism associated with a volcanic evolution on Mars. The additional sub-crustal stress around major impact basins is likely explained by a crustal extrusion after impact followed by a Moho uplift.

  16. Seasonal Variation of Martian Pick-up Ions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamauchi, M.; Hara, T.; Lundin, R.; Dubinin, E.; Fedorov, A.; Sauvaud, J.-A.; Frahm, R.; Ramstad, R.; Futaana, Y.; Holmstrom, M.; Barabash, S.

    2015-10-01

    Statistics of Mars Express (MEX) ion mass analyser(IMA) data shows that ion production from exospheric hydrogen depends more on the Sun-Mars distance than the solar cycle phase or winter-summer hemispheric difference. This indicates that the EUV is not the only driver of the production of cold, exospheric-origin ions, and that the extension of the exosphere is strongly influenced by total irradiance that carries the majority of the solar energy to the Martian atmosphere.

  17. Unusual Reactivity of the Martian Soil: Oxygen Release Upon Humidification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yen, A. S.

    2002-01-01

    Recent lab results show that oxygen evolves from superoxide-coated mineral grains upon exposure to water vapor. This observation is additional support of the hypothesis that UV-generated O2 is responsible for the reactivity of the martian soil. Discussion of current NASA research opportunities, status of various programs within the Solar System Exploration Division, and employment opportunities within NASA Headquarters to support these programs. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. History and current processes of the Martian polar layered deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Byrne, Shane

    2003-12-01

    The Martian polar layered deposits constitute a detailed record of geologically recent environmental conditions. In this thesis I examine processes that have affected this history over timescales ranging from ˜102 to ˜107 Martian years. To complete the work in this thesis I developed a geographic database of the Martian polar regions to enable comparisons of different datasets spread over different missions. I report on the discovery of a large sand rich unit underlying the northern polar layered deposits. The presence of this unit suggests there once existed a radically different polar environment where there was no polar cap. A major new question now arises of where that water went during this time period and how the old polar cap (if there was one) was removed. I describe analysis and modeling of evolving landforms on the southern residual CO2 cap. This modeling suggests that these landforms are underlain by a water ice layer. THEMIS observations were used to confirm this hypothesis. This limits the size of the residual CO2 cap reservoir to no more than 5% of the current atmosphere, which puts an important constraint on models of atmospheric evolution. Analysis of the size distribution coupled with this modeling indicates a uniform age for a large group of these features, implying some environmental change on the order of Martian centuries ago. I examined geomorphologic evidence for flow processes at the margin of the south polar layered deposits. Indications of multiple episodes of previous flow are seen. However much evidence of brittle processes such as faulting, slumping and landsliding is also present. This leads to the conclusion that, during some periods, flow of the layered deposits is incapable of relieving the gravitationally generated stresses within the ice sheet. The evidence suggests that periods where flow was possible occurred intermittently and were separated by periods in which sublimation-based retreat of the ice dominated.

  19. Cold ions at the Martian bow shock - PHOBOS observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubinin, E.; Lundin, R.; Koskinen, H.; Norberg, O.

    1993-04-01

    Measurements carried out by the plasma spectrometer ASPERA aboard the Phobos 2 spacecraft show that the Martian bow shock is characterized by a sudden increase of ionization of the neutral corona. It acts as a source of new ions that can strongly modify the process of ion heating behind the shock front. The loss of momentum of solar wind protons due to their interaction with exospheric ions may lead to an increase in the effective scale of the obstacle.

  20. Martian impact basins: Morphology differences and tectonic provinces

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stam, M.; Schultz, P. M.; Mcgill, G. E.

    1984-01-01

    Detailed geomorphic and structural mapping of five Martian basins and preliminary study of eleven other basins reveal four characteristic styles of modification that relate to the degree and age of past tectonic activity. Within regions that exhibit no evidence for tectonic activity, the modification style can be used to distinguish areas dominated by different exogenic processes. A framework for understanding these different styles of basin modification is provided.